Max Verstappen’s meteoric rise in Formula 1, culminating in his third world championship win, has not only cemented his place among the sport’s elite but also drawn praise from the legendary French F1 driver, Alain Prost. With Verstappen joining the ranks of Sir Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet, and Ayrton Senna with three championships, the racing world is abuzz with anticipation. Alain Prost recently shared his insights on the young Dutch driver’s prowess and future prospects in a column for L’Equipe.
Prost effusively commended Verstappen’s impressive track record, stating, “Winning a third title is already something great. To win one in a row is even greater. Because only a few great names have managed it.” Prost’s admiration extends beyond Verstappen’s accolades; he believes what sets Verstappen apart is his relentless pursuit of excellence, always aiming for more.
“What, in my opinion, makes him even stronger is the way in which he has learned to be one with his car and his team. He’s a great whole who strives for perfection every day,” Prost asserted. He underscored that Verstappen’s transformation from the impetuous young racer of yesteryears to the seasoned driver he is today occurred after the intense battle against Lewis Hamilton in 2021, emphasizing their year-long rivalry, culminating in a highly debated Abu Dhabi final.
Despite Verstappen’s occasional hints that he might be in F1 for a good time rather than a long time, Prost is skeptical about an early exit. He reasons that the stable regulations anticipated from 2024 to 2026 are likely to favor Verstappen, providing ample opportunities for additional title wins. Prost believes that Verstappen’s initial championship victory against a seven-time world champion has boosted his confidence and determination. “The next two years without regulatory changes won’t do much to change its current strength. And, from 2026, as he is in symbiosis with his team, they’ll be able to rise to the challenge together and at least fight for the title,” Prost declared.
Prost acknowledged that the real test for Verstappen would be how he handles a situation where his car is no longer competitive for championship contention. Drawing from his own experiences, Prost mentioned, “When I was driving, the hardest thing for me was always to be excluded from the battle for the Championship. I wanted to fight to the end.” He believes Verstappen shares this unwavering competitive spirit and the ability to stay motivated. For Max Verstappen, it’s not necessarily about chasing the seven titles of Schumacher or Hamilton, but rather, his innate ability to strive for victory every weekend, a trait that Prost anticipates will continue for years to come.