Max Verstappen is in his most dominant form since arriving in Formula 1, having won 11 of 16 races to date this season, including the last five consecutively.
The Dutch driver, who took the title last year after an intense battle against Lewis Hamilton, now enjoys a comfortable lead in the standings and, in fact, could even seal his second world championship at the next round in Singapore if he give certain combinations of results.
Across the Red Bull garage, Sergio Pérez has suffered more than expected in recent months after a fairly solid start to the season, which has meant that the Mexican has only achieved a podium in the last six races, going from being a championship contender to have to worry about falling to fourth in the drivers’ standings.
For Marc Surer, a former driver who competed in F1 between 1979 and 1986, the union between Verstappen and Red Bull fits perfectly and reminds him of similar ones in the history of the top category.
“Sometimes you create combinations where a rider (driver) has the perfect horse (car) for him and they win it all together. I think we have this situation right now: Max Verstappen and Red Bull, they fit perfectly!” Surer said.
The Swiss recalled other duos that he considered special, such as Verstappen and Red Bull: “Jim Clark with the Lotus or Jackie Stewart with the Tyrell. Michael Schumacher with Benetton should also be mentioned in this context, since except for him, nobody he was able to win races consistently there.”
Sergio Pérez at the wheel of the Red Bull RB18 in Monza
However, Surer believes that a key aspect of Verstappen’s current dominance is that Red Bull sought to give him a bespoke car after a start to the season in which he acknowledged not feeling 100% comfortable behind the wheel of the RB18.
“There are combinations that just fit together and that’s it, that means you get the feeling that they are as one. And of course Max [Verstappen] also benefits from the car developing towards his direction. If he complains that the car understeers, they will do everything possible to eliminate that understeer. No matter what Checo Pérez says, “said the veteran ex-F1 driver.
The Mexican himself has recognized on several occasions since the Austrian GP that the car took a development line that no longer made him feel as comfortable as at the start of the course, which has affected his performance. Verstappen, for his part, has had the opposite effect.
“At the beginning of the year, Max was not comfortable with the car. He was ranting on the radio all the time. And now everything is harmony,” Surer said. “When the car understeered, Perez was on the same level as Max, and was even quicker on a few occasions.”
“Now that the car is going the other way, Max has jumped forward and Perez can no longer match his speed. That’s the difference: as a super driver, if you give him the car he needs, he can make it fly. While others just they can go as fast as the car allows,” he analyzed.