Former world champion Jenson Button has branded Max Verstappen the most gifted driver in F1 over his old team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The duo’s contrasting driving styles have prompted fierce debate regarding who is the current top dog, even if car performance has made direct competition impossible during the first few weeks of the season.
Verstappen and Hamilton went toe to toe last season as fans were treated to a gripping and controversial war that raged all the way until the final lap in Abu Dhabi.
The Dutchman came out on top to clinch his first world title, but the contentious nature of his victory ensured that the discussion surrounding who is the better driver would persist. FIA race director Michael Masi, who played a massive part in Verstappen’s win, was later sacked for his role in the drama.
Button, who won the world title with Brawn in 2009, favours Verstappen when it comes to raw talent despite his prior allegiances to Hamilton.
“Naturally gifted? Yes [Verstappen is top of the field],” Button admitted to Sky Sports, “Is he the best? I don’t know if he’s the best driver that has ever lived or the best in F1 now.
“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 is where Michael Schumacher was so strong.”