Formula 1 legend Alain Prost has shared his insights on Max Verstappen’s remarkable transformation since his intense battle with Lewis Hamilton in 2021. The three-time world champion, who now drives for Red Bull, has evolved his approach to wheel-to-wheel racing and race management significantly. In a recent interview with L’Equipe, Prost expressed his concern over how Verstappen’s evolution could impact the future of Formula 1.
In the annals of modern Formula 1 history, the Verstappen-Hamilton title showdown of 2021 is etched as one of the most intense and dramatic. As they entered the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, the two titans were tied on points. The infamous events of the final lap led to Verstappen clinching the world championship.
Since that pivotal moment, Verstappen has added two more Drivers’ Championship titles to his name. However, what’s most striking is the significant change in his driving style. The 2021 season was marked by on-track clashes, with some of the most dramatic incidents occurring at Monza, Silverstone, and Saudi Arabia.
In the 2022 season, as Verstappen battled with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, observers noticed a more calculated approach to wheel-to-wheel combat. Fast forward to 2023, and Verstappen has shown an unprecedented ability to lead races from the front with a composure not seen during his contests with the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Discussing this transformation in his column for L’Equipe, Alain Prost said, “No, this Max disappeared after 2021, after that great fight with Lewis Hamilton. I won’t talk about the controversial final in Abu Dhabi, but I will talk about the way he and his Red Bull came together during the fight with Mercedes all season. That first title made him stronger. Since then, he has calmed down, except in his pursuit of perfection.”
Alain Prost expressed his concerns about the impact of Verstappen’s evolution on the sport. “It’s a bad sign for the competition because it won’t stop anytime soon,” he added. “The next two years without rule changes are not going to change much. And even from 2026 – because he and his team are very talented – they will rise to the challenge and at least compete for the title.”
Max Verstappen’s performance in the 2023 season has been nothing short of spectacular. He began the season with a win in Bahrain and has secured 14 victories out of a possible 17 races leading up to the Circuit of the Americas event. Heading into the sprint weekend in Texas, Verstappen is a remarkable 209 points ahead of his Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez. Unless McLaren, Mercedes, or Ferrari make substantial progress over the winter, Verstappen is well-poised to contend for a fourth successive title in 2024.
In conclusion, Max Verstappen’s transformation from the intense battles of 2021 to his current composure on the track is a testament to his growth as a driver. As Formula 1 fans eagerly await the future of the sport, there is no doubt that Verstappen’s dominance has raised questions about the competitive landscape of Formula 1 in the years to come.