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martin brundle on max verstappen 2023 season

Brundle: 'I don't understand why fans see Verstappen as the bad guy'

27 November at 15:45
  • Ludo van Denderen

The season ended as it started: Max Verstappen and his Red Bull Racing were superior in Abu Dhabi, relegating all other Grand Prix contenders to extras. For the last time in 2023, Martin Brundle does not hide his admiration for the three-time champion.

In his long career - first as an F1 driver, later as a commentator - Brundle saw the greatest drivers. In 2023, he saw sheer dominance by one team with one driver. In his column on Sky Sports, the Brit wrote: "Max has had the best team and car this season, but so too has Sergio Perez, and they've been up against several mighty teams and world-class drivers. Max has simply thrashed everybody."

Brundle finds Verstappen 'a delight'

Brundle lists: rain or shine, safety cars and red flags, sometimes chaos and duels with competitors; always Verstappen came out on top. "And the team ably supported his talent with predominantly bullet-proof reliability and great strategies and pit stops. I'm very pleased I witnessed it."

The former driver says he also admires the person Max Verstappen is. Someone who - according to the commentator - is also sometimes wrong with his statements, such as with his criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. But the Brit finds it a real pleasure to exchange views with Verstappen.

"He's very direct and honest, what you see is what you get, and he clearly doesn't care all that much what others think. I can't help but feel that a little more diplomacy and balance would be more fitting to the legacy he will leave, and after all, we are all only guardians of this great sport as we pass through."

The Verstappen of old is no more

For a moment, Brundle thinks back to the early years, when Verstappen was "feisty and a bit wild". It is all in the past, according to Brundle. Meanwhile, Verstappen is a paragon of calm during races. "But he sorted that out and is mostly a model of calm out on track now, and as fair as anybody else when it comes to hard racing. I don't understand why he's still seen as the villain, but the fans will make up their own minds."