Loved or loathed: Why Max Verstappen is the cream of Formula 1's young crop in 2020

Max Verstappen (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Max Verstappen (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Mark Thompson

• Max Verstappen is one of the highlights of the 2020 season.

• Verstappen has has won a total of nine races in his career.

• The Red Bull driver has been in F1 since 2015.

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For the last few years, Formula 1 has been steadily moving into the direction we now find ourselves in where Mercedes-AMG F1 is dominating.

When the new era kicked off in 2014, it was the German team who always rose to the occasion; walking away with both championships. While Ferrari and Red Bull would give them a challenge, it was never enough to topple them.

But as each year passed, Mercedes' advantage became ever more apparent, and this year the gap to its rivals is just too big. No one can hold a candle to them, and in Spain, this past Sunday (16 August), every driver up to fourth place was lapped by Lewis Hamilton.

The only two drivers who were not lapped were Hamilton's team mate, Valtteri Bottas, and Red Bull driver, Max Verstappen. Verstappen, finishing in second place and splitting the two Mercs, drove the wheels off his car to make himself relevant in an otherwise dreadful outcome.

The boy has skill

Verstappen did enough throughout the race to keep Bottas at bay to finish more 20 seconds ahead of him. This in a car that's inferior to the Mercedes in every possible way. His Red Bull team mate, Alex Albon, finished eighth in the same equipment and was lapped by Verstappen.

On 30 September, Verstappen will turn 23-years-old, but he has immense maturity when at the helm of his Red Bull race car. Yes, he is still erratic at times and fails to admit to being at fault (when he's at fault), but he is head and shoulders above many of the more senior drivers, as well as his peers.

READ: Hamilton and Verstappen are Spanish GP's big winners, but it's the losers who suffer most

Not even Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren), and George Russell (Williams) - all highly rated drivers - can achieve above-average results consistently as Verstappen. Leclerc and Norris managed to appear on the podium in 2020, but they are never in the mix of things when it is needed. Their machinery might not be on Red Bull's level, but compared to their team mates they are not that much more impressive.

Verstappen, however, has skill written all over him.

How would you rate Verstappen's performance? Is he really as good as he seems to be? Email us with your opinion.

Quick stats

Verstappen made his F1 debut for the then Toro Rosso team in Australia 2015 but was drafted to Red Bull in May 2016. In his first outing for the team, at the Spanish GP, he took victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen after Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out of the race.

Since then, he was involved with 111 Grand Prix and managed to race in 108 of them. Throughout the seven seasons his been a part of F1, he has won a total of nine races - taking at least one victory per season since joining Red Bull.

Interestingly, he has only started from pole position twice in his career but appeared on the podium 36 times.

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