Honda F1 Boss Yamamoto Rates Max Verstappen Above Senna and Prost: “Top Honda Driver in History”

Published 01/03/2022, 10:43 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship with the Netherlands flag on the podium REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto recently said that Max Verstappen is the best Honda driver in the sport’s history. The 2021 F1 season was all-in-all a dream season for the Red Bull-Honda team. The Dutchman claimed the victory in 10 races and clinched a record 18 podium finishes.

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Honda had an incredibly successful stint in F1 during the late 1980s with Williams and Mclaren. However, the Japanese asset price bubble forced them out of the sport in 1992. Honda teamed up with F1 giant Mclaren on multiple occasions. Stalwarts like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won championships in Mclaren cars powered by Honda engines.

However, after a failed partnership with Mclaren in 2015-17, they teamed up with Alpha Tauri and later with Red Bull as well. Despite the success in this season, Honda has decided to leave F1. Red Bull will take over their engine needs and Honda will extend their support in the process.

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Yamamoto says the Japanese manufacturer is firm on its decision to leave and this years’ success will change nothing.

Oct 24, 2021; Austin, TX, USA; Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen (33) of Team Netherlands (left) and Red Bull Racing Honda driver Sergio Perez (11) of Team Mexico (center) and Honda Chief Executive Masashi Yamamoto (right) celebrate on the podium after the running of the United States Grand Prix Race at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Max Verstappen is the best Honda driver ever

In a recent interview with Auto Sport, Yamamoto reflected on the 2021 season and the impressive performance put in by the team. He holds Max Verstappen in high regard. When asked about his exhilarating performance this year, the Japanese boss made a bold statement.

“This is the top Honda driver in history. Of course, the number of races is different from what it used to be, so I can’t simply compare it, but Max is the only Honda driver who has double-digit in a single year. A really great driver,” said Yamamoto as reported by Auto Sport.

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Even in the races that Verstappen didn’t win, Yamamoto believes he managed to put up a great fight for the podium. Notably, out of 19 races Verstappen finished, he ended up on the podium in 18.

“Well, except for being hit or punctured and retiring, all of them are in 2nd place except 9th place in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The 9th place of the Hungarian GP is also the result of being hit,” added the Japanese boss.

Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Honda has powered the cars of F1 legends like Senna and Prost. However, Yamamoto believes that Max Verstappen stands at the zenith. With new regulations in place for the next season, there can be a possible shift in the dynamics on the grid. Verstappen will look to defend the title in his fight with Lewis Hamilton. Tell us your best Max Verstappen moments.

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Rituraj Tripathi

259 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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