Berger backs Honda comparisons between Verstappen and Senna
Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger believes the comparison between Max Verstappen and Ayrton Senna recently conveyed by Honda “should be taken seriously”.
After Verstappen’s win in Monaco last month, Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto said that he saw similarities between the Dutchman and Senna.
“This is the first time Honda has won in Monaco since Senna, but I always see an overlap between Ayrton Senna and Verstappen who a very special driver for Honda because his driving is very similar to Senna’s.
“At just 23 years of age, he still has the potential to match and surpass Senna’s record of six Monaco victories and I’m delighted to have helped him take that step.”
Berger backed Yamamoto’s comments, noting that Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda’s technical director in F1, witnessed up close Senna’s talent and performances as a young engineer assigned to Berger’s car at McLaren in the early 1990s.
“It’s more difficult to compare with statistics, rather than with gut instinct,” Berger told Sport1.de.
“Senna is still special to me, still stands out. Just from his charisma. But Lewis Hamilton is also doing an incredible job, that shouldn’t be forgotten.
“In terms of his successes, one could put him on a par with Ayrton.
“As far as Max is concerned, most of the Honda technicians weren’t there at the time. However, if Tanabe-San, who is still in a high position at Honda, has drawn the comparison with Ayrton, it should be taken seriously.
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“Because Tanabe-San was my race engineer at the time and therefore knew exactly the telemetry data from Ayrton.”
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Assessing Verstappen’s season year to date, Berger believes the current championship leader is displaying the right amount of flair and maturity.
“Despite his youth, he is already very experienced,” Berger said.
“At the start [in Baku] he was extremely cautious given the circumstances because he knew that he could overtake with his car in Baku. He knows exactly what to do.
“In Monaco, for example, the start can decide the race. That’s why he went to work there much more aggressively.
“He has anything but an unsharpened weapon this year and therefore has a real chance of winning the world championship.”
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