Fired Sky F1 pundit makes big claim about Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and George Russell

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has suggested that Max Verstappen’s success at Red Bull is down to the team’s impressive car, rather than his pure talent.

Max Verstappen is in the prime of his career, having won consecutive world championships at Red Bull.

Three races in and Verstappen looks like he could be on course for the hattrick, as he took P1 in Bahrain and Australia and P2 in Saudi Arabia.

Due to the reliability issues his teammate experienced in Australia, Verstappen has pulled clear in the Drivers’ Standing, with a 15 point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez and a 24 point lead over Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

However, the Dutchman’s success is more to do with Red Bull’s impressive design than his skill behind the wheel, according to former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert.

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Herbert claims that, if McLaren’s Lando Norris or Mercedes driver George Russell partnered Verstappen in the same car, the Dutchman would struggle to have the string of successes he’s currently enjoying.

“George has been able to challenge him [Lewis Hamilton] and put him under a lot of pressure,” Herbert said.

“George is going to be tough for Max Verstappen when he gets the right car. I think Lando Norris is the same given the right car.”

Norris could be Verstappen’s current teammate should he have gone down a different path earlier in his career.

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Red Bull’s key advisor Helmut Marko reportedly approached Norris in 2018 to join Red Bull’s sister team, then called Toro Rosso, with a view to him moving up when a seat became available.

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However, McLaren weren’t willing to let Norris go and he remained in Formula 2 that season, finishing behind Russell in the Drivers’ Standings.

Norris is also thought to have considered a move to Red Bull prior to extending his contract with McLaren until 2025. 

With Norris believed to be frustrated at McLaren’s lack of performance, if a seat does open up at Red Bull, the British-Belgian could be a leading contender should Red Bull be able to poach him from his current team.