Brazil 2016 Proof of Max Verstappen’s Greatest F1 Strengths: Pirelli Boss

Published 02/11/2021, 12:59 AM EST
SHANGHAI, CHINA: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Ever since Pirelli took over as the tire supplier in Formula 1, the concept of ‘tire management’ has turned out to be an important aspect in assessing a driver’s talent on the whole. Some drivers, including Max Verstappen, did prove to be incredible in managing their tires, consequently standing out amid a group of the world’s best racing drivers.


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Of course, there are drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, who’ve impressed with massive stints on degrading tires over the 2020 season, the Turkish Grand Prix being a prime example.

However, Pirelli’s boss, Mario Isola, was particularly impressed by Max’s way of treating the tires. He hailed the Dutchman’s drive over the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix.


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Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates finishing in third position in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Despite racing on an extremely wet track, Max found grip over every part of the circuit. While most of the cars hydroplaned and slammed into the barriers, Max stood out, making breathtaking moves around the outside of turns.

Just when it looked like Max might just jump past the race leader, Red Bull called him into the pits, switching him onto a new set of wet tires. It was all about catching from there on. In the end, the stellar drive gifted Max with a gateway to the podium.

Pirelli boss’ view on Max Verstappen

It was following that chaotic race weekend at Sao Paulo that the F1 fandom recognized Max Verstappen as one of the most talented drivers in F1. Mario, too, joined the club as he rated the Dutchman as a great driver.

Speaking to RacingNews365, Mario expressed his view on Max’s drive impressive drive at the soaking wet circuit of Interlagos, back in 2016.

I was a few years ago, impressed by Max in Brazil (2016),” he said. “His performance in the wet was great. The conditions were the same for everyone. But he rode really amazingly good. Maybe, Red Bull, the car had been tuned for wet weather. But it was really clever what he did, anyway.” (Translated via Google Translate)

It wasn’t just the Brazilian Grand Prix that caught the Pirelli boss’s attention. Later on, the 2020 British Grand Prix, too, was added to the list.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 27: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Even at Silverstone this year when we chose a softer tire, he was good, but who knows. Mercedes have a more difficult car to tires. So I cannot claim that the Mercedes drivers were any less good than the rest of the day,” he added.

In recent years, people have been claiming that Max could be the next Lewis Hamilton in F1. As of now, it looks unlikely, as Red Bull are yet to beat the defending champions, Mercedes, performance-wise.


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But what if the Silver Arrows bid for the Dutchman’s service in the future?

Well, the chances of this sensational switch happening are very much high. And if it turns up the same in reality, and Mercedes still maintained their dominion, well, in that case, the flying Dutchman will be unstoppable.


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Rohit Kumar

747 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.