While he was always clearly a very talented racing driver, Max Verstappen has shown over the past two seasons that he has taken his performances to another level.
The Dutchman’s maiden title win in 2021 came at the end of a long and tense battle with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, however his victory last year was a lot more straightforward.
Following the major changes in regulations that came into effect at the start of last year, no driver was able to even lay a glove on Verstappen and Red Bull who were able to cruise to both championships.
The 25-year-old’s 15 race wins last year broke the previous record of 13, sharded by both Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, showing just how dominant he was over the course of the year.
Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel has now suggested that because the Red Bull driver is so dominant, his rivals should simply accept that they will be battling for second place rather than a race win.
“If you see Verstappen and Red Bull on the entry list, you are normally fighting for P2,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Their system and their combination is just working at the moment and that means it won’t stop at once now. It can’t.
“I think Red Bull and Verstappen will be very hard to beat in next two years, in the combination that’s there now.
“Once you have chosen a certain direction that works well, you don’t immediately turn at right angle. Normally, this can’t be over overnight.”
Having now won two consecutive drivers’ championships, Verstappen will be on the hunt for his third title this year but will certainly face a much sterner test.
While Red Bull will be hindered by their reduction in wind tunnel testing time as punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap, the team’s rivals are sure to improve on their spluttering starts to the new era of F1.
Ferrari will hope to be more successful under the new leadership of Fred Vasseur, while Mercedes are reportedly confident of using that they learned last year to create a much more competitive W14.