Verstappen could only manage third in the championship, but had a brilliant season for Red Bull Racing, winning three races in a campaign that was largely dominated by Mercedes.
The Dutchman was the man to break Mercedes' winning run this season at the Austrian Grand Prix with a splendid performance and then just two races later at the German Grand Prix, Verstappen made it two wins from three grands prix.
"In terms of choosing the best driver of the season, Hamilton and Verstappen were practically inseperable," Palmer said in his BBC Sport column. "Hamilton won the championship, but if I had to pick just one of them, I'd say Verstappen just edged it.
"His relentless pace and consistently high level caused team-mate Pierre Gasly to be demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in the summer break. And now the pressure is mounting on Alex Albon, Gasly's replacement, as Red Bull desperately search for someone who can operate somewhere near Verstappen's level.
"In the first part of the season, Verstappen's victory in Austria, achieved while lapping his team-mate despite being behind him on the first lap, underlined his dominance over Gasly, who has excelled against both his other F1 team-mates, Brendon Hartley last year and Daniil Kvyat this (year).
"Three race wins, extremely few mistakes and being a constant thorn in the sides of Ferrari and Mercedes shows how good Verstappen has been."