Max Verstappen must never stop working to improve in Formula One in order to join the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna as one of the all-time greats, according to Jenson Button. Verstappen is widely considered to be among the most talented drivers to have raced in F1 since the turn of the century and sensationally managed to beat Hamilton to last year’s Drivers’ Championship title after a stunning campaign on all fronts.
The Dutchman has since enjoyed an impressive start to the new season and would be right up at the top of the standings alongside Charles Leclerc if he had not been forced to retire at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with a mechanical issue. He managed to respond at the next opportunity by earning his first win of the new year in Saudi Arabia after overtaking Leclerc at the end of a thrilling battle for the lead during the final few laps of the contest.
However, Button is adamant that Verstappen still has plenty of work to do in order to join the likes of Hamilton as one of the greatest drivers of all time. He urged the Red Bull man to replicate Schumacher’s famous work ethic to ensure that he maintains his lofty standards as he continues to develop on an upward trajectory over the coming years.
“Naturally gifted? Yes,” Button told Sky Sports when quizzed on Verstappen ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. “Is he the best? I don’t know if he’s the best driver that has ever lived or the best in F1 now.
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“When you look at Lewis, you think he is a much more complete racing driver with a lot more experience, maybe that’s why. He [Verstappen] has got to work hard.
“Even if you think you’re the best, there’s still more you can do to be better. That’s where Michael Schumacher was so strong.”
Verstappen is regularly spotted at Grand Prix weekends alongside his father, Jos, who also drove in F1 before switching his focus to aiding his son’s career in motorsport after making the decision to retirein 2003. Button shared the track with the latter on a number of occasions during his own time on the grid and believes that Verstappen’s family influence will have played a major role in shaping him into the no-holds-barred racer he is today.
“When you look at Max’s parents, his dad raced in F1,” added Button, who won his only Drivers’ Championship title in 2009. “I raced against his dad and my first points finish was in Brazil in my second race.
“To get that point, I had to overtake his dad, Jos. You didn’t want to get him upset, there was a little bit of aggression there. He was an amazing talent, one of the best kart drivers ever, and still probably to this day.
“And his mother, Sophie, I was team-mates with her in karting. She was a professional and one of the best in the world, so it’s definitely in the blood.”
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