Steiner reveals dream F1 driver pairing

Guenther Steiner made his first media appearance since leaving Haas.

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Guenther Steiner revealed his all-time dream Formula 1 driver pairing, opting for past and present three-time world champions in Max Verstappen and Niki Lauda.

Speaking at Autosport International, the axed Haas team principal was asked by an audience member which two drivers of any era he’d take in an F1 driver draft.

He also revealed he thought Verstappen would win the world championship if all current drivers were in equal machinery, but refused to say which of his former Haas charges Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen was better.

“I’d pick Max and Niki Lauda“, Steiner said. “In his time Niki was the man which could, you know, even if he was not the fastest he could bring them results and he’s good fun, by the way.”

Verstappen‘s 2023 title drew him level with Lauda in world championships, in three fewer seasons than it took the Austrian.

Thanks to Verstappen‘s ridiculously early start to his F1 career, Lauda had only completed three full seasons by the time he was 26, but already had one championship under his belt and would go on to win another in 1977 before returning from a two-year hiatus to clinch his final title in 1984.

However, in comparison to Verstappen‘s 2023 win by the biggest margin ever in F1 history, that 1984 triumph over McLaren teammate Alain Prost was by the tightest of margins – just half a point.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the 2023 Dutch GP with his grandmother, mother and sister | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Steiner: Hulkenberg and Magnussen like siblings

Steiner recently parted ways with Haas, replaced as team principal by former trackside engineering director Ayao Komatsu. After struggling through managing two rookies in 2020, he’d reverted to type by the end of his reign at the team with Hulkenberg and Magnussen but the team still finished last in the 2023 constructors’ championship.

Hulkenberg finished three places and six points ahead of the Dane, but Steiner refused to confirm which he thought was best.

“Have you got a sister and a brother?” Steiner said. “If I was asked you who do you like better? That’s the same thing I’d reply.

“I think they’re both good drivers, Nico obviously showed last year that in qualifying – I think he’s one of the best in Formula 1. If you give Kevin a good car and he starts fighting, he will be there.”

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