Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber believes a reliability gremlin is the only thing which “will stop” reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, who is currently in a league of his own.
The Red Bull driver is unstoppable currently, with him being on a run of eight consecutive wins.
He’s remarkably claimed 10 wins from 12 races in 2023 and has won 25 of the last 34, since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced at the beginning of the 2022 season.
Verstappen’s dominance has seen him build a 125-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, meaning a third title is almost a guarantee.
Webber recognises this and believes Verstappen’s superiority is “really hard” for some to gauge, with nothing being able to stop him other than an issue with his car.
“It’s only reliability [problems] that will stop it, I think,” Webber told Formula 1’s in-house media. “I think it’s really hard for people to understand this level of domination, how much work and effort goes into it.
“That’s the big thing, you’ve got to give credit, people have to give credit where it’s due. To get that level of advantage with the depth of competition in F1 [is impressive].
“There’s so many opportunities to make mistakes, whether it’s pit stops, reliability, presentation of the car, driver errors, but it’s just been a run for the ages, and obviously [McLaren in] 1988 was the last time it happened.”
F1 is, of course, currently in the middle of its summer break, which will conclude next weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix, Verstappen’s home race.
The 25-year-old has won at his home race the last two years in a row, with Webber thinking the “world” would be pleased to see Verstappen win at Zandvoort once again.
“I think the world would like to see him win his home race,” Webber added. “He’s the one out there executing, he’s dancing when the curtains go back, and he goes out on stage and does it.
“We know the level of intensity he brings – he’s top drawer. For the opposition, of course, he’s now well-established in his career, he’s got an immense amount of experience.
“He’s going to enjoy the [summer] break, he’s going to come back refreshed, and I think because there’s even no pressure on him, it’s even more of an advantage for him.”