Felipe Massa makes massive Max Verstappen claim that will alarm Lewis Hamilton

A third world title this season would see Max Verstappen match Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa believes the sport is officially in an era of Max Verstappen dominance, similar to dominant spells enjoyed by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

The reigning world champion is certainly at the top of his game currently, with the Dutchman having cruised to the title last season, whilst smashing some of the most decorated records along the way.

His dominant victory at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix would suggest that 2023 might be a replica of 2022 for Verstappen, who Massa believes could win “six titles in a row”.

“I think that’s happening now,” Massa told Bild newspaper, when asked if the sport is in a Verstappen era.

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“I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t get the hat-trick,” Massa added.

“And much more than that. Max can also win four, five or six titles in a row.”

Verstappen is set to have to do it the hard way, though, if he wants to start the season with back-to-back victories, after qualifying P15 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix following a driveshaft failure.

The 25-year-old was the clear favourite for pole prior to his failure, with Verstappen attempting to become the first driver since Sebastian Vettel in 2018 to win the opening two rounds of the season.

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On the front row at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso, who has hailed the Austrians for being “in another league”.

“It is tempting to think about victory,” Alonso admitted.

“But on pure pace, I think Red Bull is in another league.

“Without another mechanical problem or something else that happens to the Red Bulls, it is not feasible. So we are going to try to do a simple race without errors and get as many points as we can.”

Despite starting 15th, Verstappen is one of the favourites for victory, with the Red Bull driver having topped all three practice sessions in Jeddah.

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His pace has been absolutely sensational, with a podium at the very worst being possible for Verstappen.

“I think Max will eventually catch me, they have that advantage,” Alonso said.

“I think there is no doubt that he will be on the podium, minimum.”