Schumacher-like Verstappen hailed for ‘saving F1’ as Hamilton 'brand' swipe made

Max Verstappen has “single-handedly saved” F1, according to a key ally, who also claimed Lewis Hamilton is a “brand” rather than a racing “nerd”. 
(L to R): Winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in Sprint parc ferme with second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
(L to R): Winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in Sprint parc ferme…

After defeating Hamilton in the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win his first world title, Verstappen has dominated the past two seasons, winning 34 of the 44 races and taking both championships. 

The Dutchman first burst onto the F1 scene when he made his debut for Toro Rosso in 2015 aged just 17, before becoming the sport’s youngest grand prix victor when he won on his Red Bull debut the following year.

And Verstappen’s impact on F1 has been hailed by AlphaTauri team manager Graham Watson, who likened his popularity to that of legendary seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher

“Max is the best thing that has happened to Formula 1,” Watson told, via Formule1. 

“When Max went from us to Red Bull, I compared it to Michael Schumacher’s move to Ferrari. He made Formula 1 immensely popular at the time. Just look at the old images of Hockenheim and Spa: the stands were full with Schumacher flags. 

“I think Max single-handedly saved Formula 1. Because he brings the same intensity and generates interest. People come en masse to Austria, Spa, actually everywhere for him. I didn’t even see that back in Schumacher’s time. My wife is 60 years old, but a big fan of Max. Because of his style, because of the excitement he creates on track.”

Watson also appeared to question Hamilton’s commitment to F1. 

“Max brings a whole new audience to Formula 1. Lewis Hamilton is very talented, but is involved in so many things that people wonder: is he a Formula 1 driver or not? He’s associated with so many other things. 

“Lewis Hamilton is a brand, Max Verstappen is a Formula 1 driver. And that won’t change. I’m not saying that what Hamilton is doing is wrong, but he’s not the nerd like Max. When guys like that are not in the car, they’re in the simulator or in a kart. They’re always trying to improve themselves.”

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