This is why Max Verstappen is better than Lewis Hamilton

Tom Clarkson believes a changing mentality is what is making Max Verstappen better than his competitors.

Beyond the Grid podcast host Tom Clarkson has explained what he believes is now the difference between rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman controversially denied Hamilton of a record-breaking eighth world title in 2021 to win his first ever world championship in the process, and has since cemented his status at the top of the pile by seeing off a fight from Charles Leclerc to retain his crown in 2022.

Verstappen has long been touted as Formula 1’s next greatest driver to emerge and still holds the record for the competition’s youngest ever race winner, clinching the accolade aged 18 years and 228 days at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton has fallen away from the top of the pack amid the latest regulation changes, which Clarkson now believes is highlighting the quality difference between himself and an ever-improving Verstappen.

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Speaking to Damon Hill on the F1 Nation podcast, Clarkson complimented Verstappen for being ‘bloody quick’ before expanding further.

“I have never met a racing driver who is so hungry for success as Max Verstappen.

“I think that’s an important component, the hunger for success,” He added: “In other words, we call [it] competitiveness or desire a burning desire to win.”

Clarkson continued, likening the two-time champion’s mentality to that of Michael Schumacher’s and Ayrton Senna’s.

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“But there’s kind of ruthlessness to it as well. I think most people find it difficult to relate to that, because in normal life that is regarded as being selfish and it’s regarded as being unattractive, but then it’s a totally appropriate mindset for competing in a sport where the objective is to win.”

“The objective is not to do well, is not to play nicely – it’s to win.”

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Verstappen has long been criticised for his no-nonsense demeanour and uncompromising approach to racing, which landed him in hot waters more often in the past than it does now. Clarkson also acknowledged his growth as a person, stating he is now ‘much calmer’ and praising his desire to win alongside that improved mentality.

With usual competitors Mercedes and Ferrari struggling to get a handle on their cars so far in 2023, Red Bull’s only serious competition has been the surprise package Aston Martin, but the Silverstone-based team have still been unable to truly topple Christian Horner’s duo.

Verstappen has won two out of three races so far this season, and finished second behind teammate Sergio Perez at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.