Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost believes Max Verstappen defeating Lewis Hamilton in 2021 gave the Dutchman the “confidence and self-assurance” that he needed to become unbeatable.
Since scrapping with the seven-time World Champion for the 2021 Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen has been unstoppable, with him having claimed 29 wins since the start of 2022 alone.
Just in 2023, the three-time World Champion has broken the record for most consecutive victories, whilst he’s just two wins away from breaking his record of 15 wins in a single season.
With the exception of the Singapore Grand Prix and the opening few rounds of the season, Verstappen hasn’t been challenged, much to the frustration of his rivals.
Given that the regulations aren’t set to be changed again until 2026, Prost is expecting the Dutchman’s dominance to continue for at least two more seasons.
Red Bull’s advantage is seen by many as too big to catch before 2026, something which is actually allowing the Milton Keynes-based team to look ahead to the new power unit regulations.
As a result, Prost thinks that Verstappen will remain dominant across the next two seasons, before still fighting for the title when the new rules are introduced in 2026.
“Beating the seven-time World Champion gave him confidence and self-assurance. That first title made him stronger. Since then, he has calmed down. Except in his quest for perfection,” Prost wrote in his column for L’Equipe
“It’s a bad sign for the competition because I don’t see him leaving any time soon. The next two years without regulatory changes won’t do much to change its current strength.
“And, from 2026, as he is in symbiosis with his team, they’ll be able to rise to the challenge together and at least fight for the title.”
This is certainly not music to the ears of Hamilton or Mercedes in general, who haven’t been able to compete with the Austrians.
Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ dominance is quickly becoming a distant memory, with the 103-time race winner having simply not been given a good enough package by the Silver Arrows.
Prost can completely understand and relate to how the 38-year-old is currently feeling, as the Frenchman went through two seasons where fighting for the championship simply wasn’t on the cards.
“When I was driving, the hardest thing for me was always to be excluded from the battle for the Championship. I wanted to fight to the end,” Prost continued.
“There’s nothing worse than living through the 1987 or 1991 seasons when the car didn’t allow you to be among the front runners.
“I think that Verstappen is the same and that he will be able to manage his motivation, not because he wants the seven titles of Schumacher or Hamilton, but because he is capable of winning every weekend and will probably stay that way for a few years.”