Step Aside, Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 Has Entered the Max Verstappen Era

No reason to think the two-time champion won't follow in the recent footsteps of Schumacher, Vettel and Hamilton.

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  • Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says that F1 has turned the page on Lewis Hamilton and it’s now the Max Verstappen era.
  • Verstappen follows the dynasties of Michael Schumacher (seven championships), Sebastian Vettel (four championships) and Hamilton (seven championships).
  • Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko says it might be to early to pencil in Verstappen for a long run of championships.

    Modern Formula 1 has gone from the Michael Schumacher era to the Sebastian Vettel era to Lewis Hamilton era to a new era, according to Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner.

    Steiner says welcome to the Max Verstappen era.Although the 2021 season finale and this year’s budget cap scandal muddied Verstappen’s achievements, Steiner says the Verstappen era is similar to the Hamilton, Vettel and Schumacher eras that preceded it.

    “Every era has its champion. In this era, it’s just Max,” Steiner told the German broadcaster NTV. “We are right in the middle of that era now. He’s got the talent, the drive, he’s just a master at the moment.”

    auto, autos, car, cars, formula 1, formula one, step aside, lewis hamilton, formula 1 has entered the max verstappen era

    Formula has a new king of the mountain, and it’s Max Verstappen.

    NurPhotoGetty Images

    As for who might challenge Verstappen’s superiority next year, Steiner answered: “I think Charles Leclerc’s driving skills are very good at the moment. But sometimes he still makes mistakes—a little too many mistakes. And Max just doesn’t make them anywhere.”

    Steiner also believes that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is “still good.”

    Max, however, is the man now.

    “To be champion, you need that little bit extra. A certain coolness, a certain extra bit of luck too,” Steiner said. “Max is just riding a wave at the moment and he doesn’t want to get off it.”

    Some, however, say Verstappen’s dominance is already boring. Take the cakewalk Verstappen had in Mexico, where only two cars were within 49 seconds of him at the finish.

    When asked about that, Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko told Osterreich: “Unfortunately, we can’t take that into account. For the rest, Max delivers anything but boring races. In Austria, for example, his races are rewarded with top ratings.”

    Marko, though, doesn’t expect Verstappen’s current level of dominance to carry over into 2023.

    “We approach the matter realistically,” said the 79-year-old Austrian. “It is indeed amazing how the season has turned out. You couldn’t have predicted that Max would be in such form. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for the 19 wins in one season,” Marko added, referring to Mercedes’ win total as a team in 2016.

    When told that Red Bull could target that for 2023, Marko answered: “I hardly think it’s possible for everything to fit together like this for another season.

    “However, Max has not yet reached the end of his development. He is even more mature, faster, tire-friendly. There’s still incredible room for improvement.”

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