Ex-Formula 1 driver Rene Arnoux has admitted that Max Verstappen was “supreme” in 2022, after previously stating that the Dutchman’s 2021 title was as a result of “the least intelligent Safety Car decision ever”.
The Dutchman beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 title following a ‘human error’ by former race director Michael Masi, who failed to follow the sport’s rules and regulations.
Thankfully, though, there was no controversy in 2022 as Verstappen was sensational this year, with the 25-year-old having smashed the record for most wins in a season and most points scored.
With 15 wins and 454 points to his name in just one campaign, it’s easy to understand why Arnoux was so impressed.
Verstappen eclipsed Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record for 13 wins in a year, whilst it was also Vettel’s record that Verstappen broke by claiming 454 points to seal a second consecutive Drivers’ Championship.
“This year, Verstappen and Red Bull were supreme,” Arnoux told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Several times, like at Zandvoort for example, he slaughtered everyone in the race.
“In my eyes, Charles Leclerc comes close to him, but Verstappen still has that little bit more.”
Arnoux used Verstappen’s opening corner overtake on Charles Leclerc at the wet Japanese Grand Prix as an example of what made the Red Bull star so imperious in 2022, with nobody having ultimately come close to the Dutchman.
“What he did there…. He executed an overtake outside in the rain to perfection,” Arnoux said.
“When it is asked of him, he can brake later than anyone else.”
One person who the Frenchman is adamant can’t challenge Verstappen is the Red Bull driver’s team-mate Sergio Pérez, who claimed third spot in the Drivers’ Championship.
Some have questioned this year if the two Red Bull drivers were given equal machinery, with Checo himself having hinted that the team’s upgrades this season were designed more to suit Verstappen’s driving style than his.
Arnoux doesn’t agree with any of this and believes that saying the pair didn’t have equal machinery is a “silly statement”.
“Perez won in Monaco and Singapore on the slower circuits. But when people call out that Perez does not have the same car as Max, those are silly statements,” he added.