Former Formula 1 race winner Gerhard Berger has ranked Max Verstappen alongside Ayrton Senna as the two best drivers he has seen in the past 50 years.
Verstappen stormed to his 10th straight victory at the most recent Italian Grand Prix, breaking the all-time F1 record for the most consecutive wins by a single driver.
The Dutchman, who has triumphed in 27 of the 36 races held since the start of last year, is rapidly closing on the half-century mark for race wins and a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship, which would equal the number Senna achieved in his career.
Meanwhile, Senna is widely viewed as the quickest driver to have ever graced an F1 car, having accumulated 65 pole positions across 161 starts before his tragic death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Although both drivers fall below the table-topping statistics achieved by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, Berger rates Verstappen and Senna above the two seven-time World Champions.
“Verstappen and Senna are unique in the business – they are the two best I have seen in the last 50 years,” the ex-Ferrari driver told Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.
“Schumacher and Hamilton are also exceptional drivers. Of course, you should always look at the statistics, they are both fantastic.
“But Senna died early – and Verstappen is still young.”
Red Bull Team Principal has accompanied Berger in heaping praise on Verstappen, believing the two-time F1 title winner can already be included on a list of the best drivers the sport has ever seen.
When asked on Friday at Monza where he ranks Verstappen among the greats, Horner said: “Well, I never worked with Fangio or Jackie Stewart. But what Max Verstappen is achieving is quite phenomenal. He is an exceptional talent.
“What he’s managed to do in the last few years has been quite remarkable and with the amount of victories he has, the records that he’s been breaking, if he wins, hopefully, and defends his Drivers’ title this year, then he joins some very illustrious names in the sport.
“Now it’s always very difficult to judge against those and we’re fortunate that one of the most successful drivers of all time is still competing [Lewis Hamilton], and as we’ve just heard, extending their tenure in Formula 1.
“It’s always difficult to compare generations but you have to start to include him in the bracket of some of the greatest that this sport has seen.”
Both Red Bull and Verstappen will have the opportunity to retain the titles the combination convincingly won last year as early as this month.
The Austrian outfit is currently 310 points clear of second-place Mercedes, while Verstappen has a comfortable 145-point advantage over team-mate Sergio Perez.