Fernando Alonso said it’s too early to tell whether Max Verstappen is in the same bracket as seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, but added he expects Verstappen to reach that level eventually.
Verstappen won his third Formula 1 drivers’ championship at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix Sprint Race, still aged only 26, with Red Bull showing no sign of loosening their domination of the sport any time soon.
He’s set a plethora of records already in his career, including most consecutive wins in 2023, but Alonso reserved judgment when asked whether Verstappen‘s legacy is up there with the best just yet.
“Maybe, we have to wait and see,” Alonso told the press. “I think the next few years will be even better for Max, to be honest. He’ll keep adding championships, so we will compare to Michael even closer in the future.”
Alonso was the driver to break Schumacher‘s stranglehold on F1 with his first drivers’ title in 2005, after the German had won five on the spin for Ferrari.
However, after going back-to-back the following year, Alonso has never been able to add a third championship to his collection and Verstappen will likely move ahead of the Spaniard in Qatar.
Verstappen has earned title
Alonso added Verstappen‘s title was fully deserved, despite the dominance of the RB19 in a season where it’s been beaten to a Grand Prix victory just once in 16 races.
Based on early-season form, Alonso looked the most likely driver to deny the Milton Keynes team but after a poorly-timed pit stop cost him a very good chance at victory in Monaco, Aston Martin haven’t been the same.
It was Alonso‘s compatriot Carlos Sainz that finally broke the streak in Singapore, but Verstappen hit back with a crushing win in Japan a week later.
That was after a nine-race streak of rain-affected weekends from the Miami to Dutch GPs, where Verstappen took victory every single time.
“Big congratulations,” Alonso said. “It’s an incredible season breaking so many records and wining so many races.
“And they weren’t easy races sometimes, they were tricky with weather conditions, June and July all the races were hit by rain on Saturdays or Sundays.
“It was sometimes tricky and you know, when you make no mistakes and you deliver the job every Sunday, you know it’s big respect.”