1979 Formula 1 World Champion Jody Scheckter has made a prediction about Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
There is no doubting that the reigning World Champion is currently the best driver in F1, with him having won 12 of the 15 completed races in 2023.
10 of which came consecutively, something which saw the 25-year-old eclipse Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 record of nine wins in a row.
Verstappen’s incredible run came thanks to him having matured as a driver, something which was proven at Monza where he waited for the right moment to overtake Carlos Sainz.
When Verstappen was in a similar position only a couple of seasons ago, it’d often result in a collision.
Scheckter believes that the Dutchman has learnt how to win races and championships by becoming a “smart guy”, resulting in him usually coming out on top in “very difficult situations”.
“Well, I mean, first of all, he’s obviously quick as anything, he’s aggressive. But he’s also smart,” Scheckter told TJ Sports USA.
“You know, he comes out on the top in these very difficult situations. Maybe at the beginning he was too aggressive, but now he’s good and seems to get it all together and real championship material.
“I think at the beginning when you get into Formula 1, you just want to prove that you’re faster than everybody,” Scheckter said.
“And so that’s what you do. And then you realise you don’t win championships like that. He’s a smart guy, so he’s got it together now, and obviously got the car at the moment to do it.”
Despite his dominance this season, Verstappen’s winning streak and Red Bull’s ended at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend, where the two-time World Champion finished fifth.
He was eliminated in Q2 alongside Sergio Perez, although Verstappen was two places higher in 11th.
Red Bull simply didn’t have a good car in Singapore, which suggests that Verstappen’s dominance could be halted in the future when the Austrians aren’t on top.
Scheckter thinks this will be the case, similar to how Hamilton’s dominance ended when Mercedes were no longer the quickest team on the grid.
“It really depends on the cars, to a large extent,” Scheckter added.
“There’s no question he’s good enough, but has he always got the winning car? You think Lewis [Hamilton] had a dominant car for a long period of time, not to take anything away from him, I also think he’s brilliant and smart.
“But, you know, you can get in a bad car now and then [and] it doesn’t matter how good you are, you’re not going to be winning.”