According to former LeMans winner Richard Bradley, Max Verstappen cannot be considered an all-time great because he's yet to perform in an inferior car. This is despite the Red Bull driver winning his 40th F1 race in dominant fashion.
He is well on his way to becoming a three-time world champion. However, in the view of Bradley, he cannot consider Max Verstappen an all-time great at the age of 25. Talking about this on the "On Track GP Podcast", Bradley said:
“I don’t think so. The reason why is since he’s gone into Red Bull, he’s always had a car that’s been capable of fighting. And all of the all-time greats, at some point, they took something which wasn’t the best equipment, and they made it work. You know, we look at Lewis and 2009 with that McLaren. Okay, he had the dominant Mercedes years [since]."
"We look at Schumacher when he won his first championships, Senna when he won that famous Donnington Grand Prix in 1993. They all have a time when they’re not in competitive equipment, but they make it work. We haven’t seen that from Max."
Talking about Max Verstappen's debut year which was spent in a Torro Rosso, Bradley felt the Dutch driver was just on level with Carlos Sainz that season. He said:
“When he was at Toro Rosso, which is now AlphaTauri, he was very level with Carlos [Sainz], so I’m still waiting to see that that last bit to prove his greatness – but the level he’s on now, it’s Schumacher-esque, it’s absolutely dominant.”
Bradley on why Fernando Alonso is revered even though he has fewer wins than Max Verstappen
Bradley further used the example of Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso as a comparison for Max Verstappen.
The Spaniard has fewer wins than Verstappen in his career and by the end of the season, could have fewer titles as well. He still is considered an all-time great because he has proven himself time and again in inferior machinery.
“Fernando has consistently when he’s been in bad cars, he’s made them work, and he’s managed to get results. That’s why we look at Fernando in that light, even though he’s only got two championships, even though he’s got less wins than Max, we look at him like that, because he’s proved it in inferior equipment."
It is an interesting debate to have whether Max Verstappen is already an all-time great. However, it is also safe to say that at 25 years of age, it is too early to even think along those lines. The Red Bull driver has far too many races still left in his career.