Verstappen draws comparisons with the Formula One greats

Sun Nov 13, 2016 5:52pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Max Verstappen was compared to Formula One greats Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher on Sunday after the Dutch teenager's sensational drive to third place in a wet and chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix.

Even father and former racer Jos, the 19-year-old Red Bull driver's biggest fan and fiercest critic, was astonished.

"What Max showed here today was really special," he said of a race likely to go down in the sport's annals as one for the ages.

In the last 15 laps, after a change to extreme wet tyres, Verstappen passed more than half the starting grid as he went from 16th place to the podium.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who caused a media commotion earlier in the week when he rang Jos in what was interpreted as a bid to warn Max off interfering in the title battle, was no less impressed.

"I didn’t call him but I met him," Jos said when asked whether there had been another post-race phone conversation. "I tell you also what he said to me and it was 'We are racing for the championship but today it was the Verstappen show.'

"I think he was right."

Think Spain 1996, a race that earned Schumacher his 'rainmaster' tag after the German dominated in a downpour, or Senna's astonishing drive to second place in a Toleman at a wet Monaco 1984.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after finishing third in the race.  REUTERS/Nacho Doce