Nico Rosberg believes it’s solely a matter of time earlier than Max Verstappen’s identify is talked about in the identical breath as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
The latter, he reckons, is the one driver who might have taken the combat to Verstappen this previous season had he additionally been driving the record-breaking Pink Bull RB18.
12 months after his hard-f0ught victory within the 2021 World Championship, Verstappen beating Hamilton to the title with a last-lap-of-the-season go, the Dutchman has two titles to his identify.
His title defence was simple in comparison with his first championship, the Pink Bull driver wrapping up the 2022 title together with his twelfth of 15 wins for the season.
Rosberg believes he’ll “very quickly” be rated amongst the top-five greatest System 1 drivers ever.
“Max Verstappen is solely a superb driver,” the 2016 World Champion advised Sport1.de. “I’m fairly certain he’ll be part of the 5 greatest F1 drivers of all time very quickly.
“Along with Senna, Hamilton and Schumacher, amongst others, the identify of Max Verstappen can be on that listing.
“That can occur quickly, particularly since he already has his second title in his pocket.
“It’s unbelievable how a lot expertise he has and the way flawless he was.”
Simply noticed off Sergio Perez who’s ‘no jerk’
With Verstappen bagging 15 wins and 454 factors, he completed the season comfortably forward of his team-mate Sergio Perez, who had two wins and 305 factors.
Just one team-mate has ever completed forward of Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo doing so in 2016 when Verstappen was promoted to Pink Bull previous to race 5 of the season, and once more in 2017.
Since then the Dutchman has all the time come on prime of his team-mate battles.
His performances towards Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon successfully ended their Pink Bull careers, each drivers demoted after falling properly in need of Verstappen’s benchmark.
“He was stronger than his team-mate [Perez],” Rosberg continued. “That’s in fact the one you may greatest measure your self towards.
“And his present and former team-mates aren’t any jerks in fact. Consider Gasly, Perez and all of the others. They don’t even attain half of Max’s stage.
“Perez had final 12 months a number of moments when he was a bit shut, however for the remaining he was extra in no man’s land in comparison with Verstappen.”
‘Solely Hamilton may very well be on the similar stage’
With 15 wins on the board in 2022, Verstappen set a brand new document for probably the most wins in a single season. The earlier document was 13, set by Michael Schumacher and matched by Sebastian Vettel.
Rosberg says such was Verstappen’s “insane” type this previous season solely Hamilton would have the flexibility to match him had he additionally been within the RB18.
“Fifteen victories in a single season is unbelievable,” he added. “He’s now the person to beat in System 1.
“By the way in which, I’d say that solely Hamilton would act at eye stage, so at about the identical stage, if he have been in the identical automobile.
“However what Verstappen is at the moment exhibiting is insane.”
Learn extra: Nico Rosberg on Ferrari’s ‘abdomen pains’ and the way they ‘merely screwed it up’ in 2022