Greatness is never bestowed, it is earned. But what defines greatness, setting apart the elite from the rest? Consider this perspective: among the vast population of eight billion people on our planet, a mere twenty individuals can claim the title of Formula 1 driver at any given moment. Let’s be even more precise and say fourteen, as some are essentially pay-for-hire racers. Out of these fourteen drivers, only a select two or, at most, three, will ever stand atop the podium.
In any sport, without exception, the essential element for success lies in the relentless determination to push oneself beyond one’s limits, surpassing the efforts of competitors. While talent is undeniably valuable, it remains ineffective if not meticulously cultivated and refined. In essence, showing up to the races without honing and perfecting one’s skills is akin to not showing up at all.
Max Verstappen, propelled by what could be deemed the most competitive car of this generation, if not in the entire history of Formula 1, is asserting his dominance over the rest of the grid. Even his teammate, Sergio Perez, finds himself unable to scale the heights that Verstappen is already conquering. During the Italian Grand Prix, Verstappen accomplished a remarkable feat, setting a new record with his 10 consecutive wins in a row.
Achieving ten consecutive wins in Formula 1 is an extraordinary feat. While undoubtedly having the most dominant machine plays a pivotal role, it takes more than just the car. One must summon an unwavering focus, a resilient mentality, and an insatiable desire at every race weekend. The enigmatic qualities that set apart the truly great F1 drivers from the rest continue to remain a mystery. Nonetheless, veteran French F1 pundit Roger Benoit believes he may have the answer to unravelling this mystery.
In a recent media interview, Benoit elaborated on how Verstappen exhibits a number of similarities to Michael Schumacher:
He (Michael Schumacher) often made things difficult for himself. He is an exceptional figure who never really felt comfortable in his own skin,, with his over-ambition. Just like Max Verstappen sometimes does today.”
“But the really great Champions are all like that. That Schumi would also become like that was already seen [in his] 1992 test drives.”
“Verstappen and Senna are unique in the business – they are the two best I have seen in the last 50 years,” Berger, who spent three seasons as Senna’s team-mate at McLaren between 1990 and 1992, told Austria’s Kronen Zeitung.”
“Schumacher and Hamilton are also exceptional drivers. Of course, you should always look at the statistics, they are both fantastic.”