Max Verstappen compared to Lewis Hamilton’s F1 hero in snub

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Max Verstappen shares similarities with Lewis Hamilton’s F1 idol Ayrton Senna, according to former McLaren coordinator Jo Ramirez. The 81-year-old claimed the Dutchman is much more similar to Senna than the Brit, in words that are likely to sting for Hamilton.

Hamilton has regularly spoken up about his love for three-time champion Senna and has even become an idol in Brazil over his affection.

But Ramirez told AS: “The man (Verstappen) is very good. He has taken on the role of Ayrton Senna in modern F1 and with that car, that team and Adrian Newey, he is almost unstoppable.”

When asked who could win the 2023 championship, Ramirez responded that Verstappen was the “safest” bet after just one race. In further praise for the 25-year-old Ramirez quickly added: “The guy is very good.”

Ramirez has worked in F1 since the 1960s but is best remembered for his time at the McLaren team. He worked closely with Senna at a time when he was embroiled in a fierce rivalry with Frenchman Alain Prost.

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However, unlike Senna’s battle with eventual world champion Prost, Ramirez feels Sergio Perez’s challenge to Verstappen is less threatening. The Mexican claims his compatriot still lacks the “killer instinct’ of Verstappen which has prevented him from challenging for titles.

However, Ramirez’s comments are in contrast to fellow F1 legends who feel Hamilton is the closest thing to matching Senna’s talent. Senna’s friend and fellow competitor Gerhard Berger said Hamilton could match him due to Mercedes’ stars’ likely legacy.

He previously said: “Hamilton is not just the best driver today, he is well on the way to becoming the best ever. I am often asked if Hamilton is as good as Senna and I resisted the comparison for a long time because I knew Senna so well.

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“But with Hamilton, I can now say with a clear conscience: he has it. He is the first driver I would put in the same breath as Senna.” Ramirez’s former team McLaren struggled in Bahrain with the squad looking to be rooted near the base of the F1 pecking order.

The British manufacturer completed the least amount of laps in pre-season testing and lacked pace compared to their midfield rivals. The team’s issues carried over to Sakhir with the squad suffering a double DNF.

An electrical issue plagued Oscar Piastri while a problem with the pneumatic pressure afflicted Lando Norris. Speaking about McLaren, Ramirez said: “It’s a pity. They are very slow in development.

“Even in my day, when we were working on next year’s new car, we were always late. Ron Dennis wanted to check everything, down to the smallest detail, and often the championship would start and we’d be caught with our trousers down because we weren’t ready.”

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