Jos Verstappen has claimed son Max is now the “man to beat in qualifying” after his stellar championship-winning season last year.
By notching 10 pole positions and 10 wins, the Dutchman secured more of each than any other driver in 2021 despite Hamilton being regarded as one of the greatest F1 qualifiers of all time.
The feat is all the more impressive given Mercedes beat Red Bull to the constructors’ championship, proving Verstappen was not the beneficiary of a totally dominant car.
Despite crashing out at the final corner, pundits and fans alike have revered Verstappen’s qualifying lap in Saudi Arabia as the best of the season for his fully-committed style.
After Max explained how his father used to hang over the pit wall at karting to encourage him to go faster, Verstappen Sr told CarNext at the end of last season: “I even did that during Formula 3 and it helped, I must say.
“He saw me as a lunatic, I was hanging over the wall telling him to go quicker. He doesn’t need that now.
“It is in him, it is inside him and he doesn’t need it anymore. He knows how to qualify.
“At the beginning of his career, in Formula 3, he was still finding that perfect lap. During his Formula 1 career, he has improved on that quite a lot.
“Now, he is the man to beat in qualifying, 100 per cent, and on track, of course.”