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Max Verstappen looks like a world champion in waiting 

Aaron Gales
ANALYST
Feature
298   //    14 Nov 2018, 21:25 IST

Max Verstappen looks like a world champion in waiting
Max Verstappen looks like a world champion in waiting

As has so often been the case in the 2018 Formula One season, Max Verstappen was the man once again dominating the headlines after this weekend's Grand Prix.

This week it was an incident with Esteban Ocon that caused the headlines, with Ocon colliding with Verstappen, who was leading the race at the time, as he attempted to un-lap himself.

Neither driver was blameless in the incident but Verstappen was understandably disappointed to have a near-certain victory torn from his grasp.

However, he still managed to secure a second place finish and has a chance of overhauling Valterri Bottas, who has had a vastly superior car this year in the final race of the season.

Verstappen has also significantly outperformed his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who has recognised that Red Bull are building their team around Verstappen and jumped ship to Renault for next season.

What has been particularly impressive about Verstappen's form this year is the way he has recovered after a poor start to the season when he was involved in a number of incidents that cost him a significant number of points.

Despite coming under scrutiny from team boss Christian Horner, fellow drivers and the media, Verstappen has stuck to his guns and his form since has been quite remarkable. He hasn't quite had the machinery or the consistency to mount a title challenge this year but it feels like it is surely only a matter of time.

There is no doubt he has what it takes. He is frighteningly quick, brilliant in the wet, a fantastic overtaker and a fearless racer.

There are understandably still questions about his temperament but it is easy to forget, given all that he has already achieved, that he is still just 20 years old. He is growing up in the full glare of the media spotlight.

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What is clear is that as a driver he has the ability to win a world title. Put him in a Ferrari or a Mercedes next year and I truly believe he could challenge Hamilton or Vettel for the title.

Success for Verstappen, though, looks like it will hinge on the relationship between the team and their new engine supplier Honda.

After a disastrous three years with McLaren, Honda appears to have made a significant step forward this year, but it was undoubtedly a brave call from Horner and the Red Bull team to make the move.

What is now beyond doubt is that Verstappen has the ability to become a world champion and it is surely a case of when, not if, it happens.

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