Verstappen among all-time F1 greats after 15-win season, says former world champion Rosberg

By Sports Desk November 21, 2022

Max Verstappen already ranks among Formula One's all-time greatest drivers, believes former world champion Nico Rosberg, after the Dutchman's latest triumph.

The Red Bull man signed off on a second successive world drivers' championship crown in emphatic style with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend.

With 15 race wins this season, Verstappen has set a new record for most victories in a single campaign, and has moved to sixth on the all-time list, overhauling Fernando Alonso.

Now former Mercedes driver Rosberg, who won the title in 2016, thinks he deserves to be high in the conversation when it comes to determining who the sport's finest stars are.

"He is an incredible driver," he told Sky Sports podcast Any Driven Monday. "I think it's easy to say even now that's he's going to be one of the best of all time, if you look at the statistics he actually even is now.

"He's a double world champion [and] with all of the race wins that he has, more than Alonso, he's already one of the best of all time. I think he's only getting started.

"He's going to confirm that in the next decade, certainly. His level of driving is phenomenal, and it's great to witness that."

Though the latter half of his campaign was dogged by Red Bull's salary cap infringements, Verstappen's achievements nevertheless came impressively this year,

An early title battle with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc ultimately petered out after a multitude of strategy errors from his rivals, but even before then, the Dutchman looked to have the edge.

"We need to remember also, it's not like from the get-go this year his car was miles quicker than everyone else's," Rosberg added.

"The Ferrari was the quickest car in the beginning of the season and still, he got this incredible 15 wins and really destroyed the opposition in that way.

"If you look at the points, he scored 146 more than anybody else, it's unreal. It's one of the greatest driving seasons we've ever seen, certainly."

Related items

  • Red Bull launch RB19 car as Ford F1 return confirmed Red Bull launch RB19 car as Ford F1 return confirmed

    Ford will return to Formula One for the first time since 2004 and partner with Red Bull from 2026.

    Red Bull revealed their RB19 car for the 2023 season at a launch event in New York City on Friday, with reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen, team-mate Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner in attendance.

    Ford, meanwhile, will return to F1 after a 22-year absence, working with Red Bull to build a power unit for F1's next engine regulations.

    "We are mavericks, we are pushing the boundaries. We are looking forward to this busy season in 2023," said Horner, whose team took the constructors' title off Mercedes last year, as well as seeing Verstappen win for a second straight year.

    "It is going to be an incredible season; our rivals for sure haven't stood still. Ferrari are going to be competitive, Mercedes are going to be there; there are some other teams that could make some big progress as well.

    "In Bahrain, in a couple of weeks' time, we will get to see everyone's car and see if we have missed something, have we not.

    "There is going to be highs and lows along the way, but I think we are in a good place. We are going to have to be at the top of our game this season."

    Of Red Bull's partnership with Ford, Horner added: "To welcome the Ford brand back into Formula One, to have the Red Bull Ford powertrain is going to be very exciting.

    "There was a natural synergy between the two companies, it was an easy deal – 2026 seems like a long way away, but in the engine world, it is tomorrow.

    "We have recruited some incredible talent and have some great people in the team.  We are really excited about what we can achieve."

    Ford's involvement in F1 began in the 1960s with a long-standing partnership with British firm Cosworth.

    They are the third-most successful engine manufacturer in the history of F1, having played a part in winning 10 constructors' championships and 13 drivers' championships.

    Ford chief executive Jim Farley said: "We don't want to make generic cars, faceless vehicles; we want vehicles with an attitude – this team represents that."

    Horner said: "It's a huge era for the team. As Formula One moves to pretty much a 50-50 split between hybridisation and combustion power, we wanted to have a like-minded partner.

    "It's great to see the Ford brand coming back into Formula One."

  • Schumacher lands McLaren reserve role Schumacher lands McLaren reserve role

    Mick Schumacher has been named as McLaren's reserve driver for 2023 after a deal was struck with Mercedes.

    The 23-year-old, son of Formula One great Michael Schumacher, lost his seat at Haas following the 2022 season and was subsequently released from Ferrari's young driver programme.

    Schumacher signed as Mercedes' third driver, behind Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, but will now deputise for Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri at McLaren in the event of either being unable to race.

    Those opportunities would still be presented should either Hamilton or Russell have issues this season, though there is now a greater chance of Schumacher making an appearance on the grid.

    In two seasons at Haas, Schumacher scored points on two occasions from 43 races and was replaced by compatriot Nico Hulkenberg for the 2023 campaign.

    As pointed out by McLaren, representing the team brings the Schumacher name full circle as team principal Andrea Stella worked alongside Mick's father as performance engineer.

  • 'Franchise driver' Norris as good as Fernando Alonso, says McLaren boss Brown 'Franchise driver' Norris as good as Fernando Alonso, says McLaren boss Brown

    Lando Norris is a "franchise driver" and is as good as Formula One icon Fernando Alonso, McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes.

    The 23-year-old is set for his fifth year with McLaren and has a new teammate for 2023 in Oscar Piastri, resulting in an exciting youthful pairing in F1.

    McLaren have high hopes for their future in F1, with Brown recently outlining his objective of competing for the title by 2025, and Norris is an integral part of those plans.

    The team have managed to keep Norris out of the clutches of Red Bull, whom he has spoken to in the past, with the young driver tied down until 2025 and seen as a figure McLaren can build around.

    Though there is still plenty for Norris to achieve in F1, Brown suggests he is comparable to two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso.

    "Lando's a franchise driver. Lando's one of those guys if we put everyone in a dirt buggy and we put all the F1 drivers in a race, he'd be at the front because he's got that kind of natural talent," Brown told ESPN.

    "I think he is as good as anyone on the grid, and I've felt that from day one when I put him against Fernando in the 24 Hours of Daytona, foreign car, foreign track.

    "I think Fernando is as good as any F1 driver there's ever been, and Lando matches him, and depending on what time of day it was, maybe he even got him a little bit, and vice versa.

    "You see that natural talent. You do get some drivers who are a one-make discipline and you throw them in a unique situation and they don't get up to speed as quickly."

    Norris is still waiting for a maiden victory in F1 but he did see Mercedes' George Russell – someone he raced alongside during their junior careers – secure a win last season.

    Brown feels that will provide encouragement for the forthcoming campaign.

    "He wants to be winning races, I'm sure he knows he can beat George and he has beaten George before... and he goes out and wins," Brown added.

    "He's going to be anxious people he's raced with don't get too many more wins before he starts getting his."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.