Herbert: Verstappen has a wow factor

In an exclusive interview with Total-Motorsport.com, Johnny Herbert revealed he thinks Max Verstappen can be regarded as one of Formula 1's most special drivers


Johnny Herbert says Max Verstappen still excites him even though he has matured and puts him on the same level as Formula 1‘s most special drivers.

Verstappen is about to embark his ninth season in F1 as a two-time world champion, having pipped Lewis Hamilton to the title in 2021 and dominated the second half of the 2022 season.

Apart from his debut campaign with Toro Rosso in 2015, he has won a race in every season he’s competed in, with 35 victories to his name.

“I was 24 years old when I made my F1 debut and that was young, but that’s old now,” Herbert exclusively told Total-Motorsport.com.

“This is a very good generation coming through of young drivers but also the old ones too with Hamilton and [Fernando] Alonso. Max was the first of those young ones to break through.

“He still really excites me when I watch him. There’s a wow factor with Max. Special drivers have that something extra that allows them to win races, but more importantly win a world championship.”

Best F1 grid ever?

Verstappen is part of a highly rated group of young drivers who joined F1 between 2015 and 2019.

Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell are seen as the most talented drivers, along with Verstappen, who could compete in the sport for the next decade.

Asked if the current F1 grid is in the best shape it has ever been in, Herbert answered: “It’s difficult with eras because they are all very, very different.

“The one big thing that is different from when I started, for example, is they have so much more information [now] before they even step in the car.

“If it was a new track, we literally turn up at a race track, walk around the track, or on a bike. Then when you did the first free practice that was the first time you went around the track [in a car].

Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher at 1993 Brazilian GP | Twitter @F1

“These guys have done thousands of laps before they get there [in the simulator]. The technology of being able to set up the car is all done in the factory before they turn up, whereas we had to do it when we got to the track.

“It’s unbelievable with the amount of information they have, that they absorb and actually understand exactly what’s going on in the car.

“If I looked at the first F1 car I drove, at Brands Hatch in 1987, there was one button on the steering wheel. Now there’s like 34 buttons and menus within that and everything else etc.

“I think the driving of the cars has fundamentally never really changed for decades. The cars now are impressive power-wise, grip-wise, they are a lot bigger and a lot longer but the fundamentals are the same.”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
- Advertisment -


Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull during 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Aston Martin executive gives cryptic update on Adrian Newey deal

Aston Martin’s technical director Dan Fallows has admitted Adrian Newey would be “a great asset” to any team but...
Oscar Piastri with the winners trophy at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Piastri wants McLaren discussion after Hungarian GP team orders chaos

Oscar Piastri called for a McLaren discussion regarding the team orders situation at the 2024 Hungarian GP as he...
The start of the 2024 Hungarian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Driver Ratings – 2024 Hungarian GP

Oscar Piastri stunned fans at the Hungaroring by taking his first career victory at the 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand...
Nick Cassidy walking down the pit lane at the 2024 London E-Prix | Formula E

Emotional Cassidy ‘incredibly sad’ to miss out in dramatic Formula E title race

Nick Cassidy was almost lost for words after he dramatically lost the 2024 Formula E title to Pascal Wehrlein...
Kyle Larson of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 | NASCAR / Getty Images

Why NASCAR waited and ended the Brickyard 400 under caution

Kyle Larson, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the thirty-year anniversary of...
Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull over shocking 2024 Hungarian GP performance

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull for a shocking display at the 2024 Hungarian GP, calling the car slow and...
Oscar Piastri celebrates winning the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Emotional Oscar Piastri relives maiden F1 win at Hungarian GP

An emotional Oscar Piastri said his 2024 Hungarian GP victory was a “dream come true” as he took his...
Colton Herta wins the IndyCar 2024 Grand Prix of Toronto | Penske Entertainment: Travis Hinkle

Colton Herta Triumphs in Toronto, Ending 40-Race Winless Streak

Michael Andretti’s jubilant reaction following the IndyCar Grand Prix of Toronto at Exhibition Place was unmistakable as Colton Herta...
Pascal Wehrlein celebrates winning the Formula E championship at the London E-Prix | Formula E

Victory and redemption: Pascal Wehrlein’s road to becoming Formula E champion

Following a wide-open battle that boiled down to the very last race of the 2024 season, Pascal Wehrlein officially...
Mitch Evans looks on at the 2024 Portland E-Prix | Formula E

Evans hits out at Jaguar: Team were working against me in Formula E finale

Mitch Evans feels his Jaguar team were working against him during the Formula E finale in London as he...
- Advertisment -