Ex-Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella has described Max Verstappen as “a cannibal”, with the Italian admitting that the Dutchman is destroying the entire grid.
Verstappen has been the driver to beat the last three seasons, as he’s collected three consecutive titles.
Whilst in 2021 he was matched throughout the campaign by Lewis Hamilton, he has been clear of the pack the last two seasons.
It can be argued that Charles Leclerc put up a fight in 2022, although Verstappen still won his second title by 146 points over the Monegasque.
As for the recently completed 2023 season, nobody even remotely challenged the Red Bull driver, as Sergio Perez’s title aspirations lasted just four races.
Verstappen obliterated almost every record this year, most of which he originally broke in 2022.
In 2023, Verstappen broke the records for most wins (19), most consecutive wins (10), most points scored (575), most laps led (1,003) and percentage of wins in a season (86.4 per cent).
Only three races this year weren’t won by Verstappen, highlighting just how dominant he was.
Perez secured second in the Drivers’ Championship, although he was a distant 290 points behind Verstappen.
Verstappen scored so many points in 2023, that Red Bull would’ve still won the Constructors’ Championship based on his tally alone.
The 26-year-old was just able to consistently extract the maximum potential of the RB19, something Perez rarely managed to do.
Red Bull’s 2023 car will go down as one of the greatest in the history of the sport, but it’s arguably just because Verstappen drove it to such an extraordinarily high level.
Verstappen was so phenomenal this year, that beating him was effectively impossible, as recognised by Fisichella.
“Max Verstappen is a cannibal at the moment, very difficult to beat,” Fisichella told Paddock News 24, as quoted by F1 Oversteer.
The big question now is whether Verstappen can continue his dominance in 2024 and claim a fourth consecutive title, a feat most expect him to achieve.
Whilst McLaren in particular did get closer to Red Bull’s leading pace in the closing stages of this year, it remains to be seen if the Austrians can make their 2024 car even stronger than the RB19.
If the RB20 is better than the RB19, then defeating Red Bull and Verstappen will presumably be an unrealistic objective for all the other leading teams.