Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari are engaged in a competitive race for the Formula One title. Gerhard Berger has shared his thoughts on the situation.
Gerhard Berger, a former F1 racer, believes that Max Verstappen’s “excellent” race handling and Red Bull’s strategic decisions will determine the winner of this year’s championship.
At the halfway point of the season, Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc by 38 points, with the competition between their squads ebbing and flowing.
Verstappen recorded a streak of 5 triumphs in six races after Leclerc began the season with two victories in three races, taking advantage of Ferrari’s mechanical issues.
The last two races were won by Ferrari (Carlos Sainz in Britain and Charles Leclerc in Austria), but Berger believes Verstappen has a significant edge going forward.
Verstappen and Red Bull are “almost unbeatable” in Berger’s opinion
On the F1 Nation podcast, the 10-time Grand Prix champion, who competed for teams including Ferrari, McLaren, and Benetton in the 1980s and 1990s, was questioned what he thought of the Verstappen/Leclerc fight.
“Leclerc has impressed me with his talent, with his speed on one lap in qualifying – he’s doing very, very well,” Berger began.
“[But] in the racecraft, I have seen a little bit of an advantage to Max. He’s brilliant over the whole race, using every possibility.
“He’s very strong at overtaking, he’s very strong in wheel-to-wheel fighting and he’s very strong at reading the race.
“Combine this with the strategy of Red Bull, who are extremely good, and the good pit-stops of Red Bull… I think it’s nearly an unbeatable package.”
Verstappen “even better” than 2021, Leclerc making mistakes
After winning his first championship in 2021, Verstappen, according to Berger, is performing better than ever, but Leclerc still has room for growth.
“I think Verstappen is even better than last year,” continued the Austrian.
“I think to win a championship, it takes a lot of pressure away from you.”
As for Leclerc, Berger added: “He did one or two mistakes this year, which shouldn’t happen when he’s really serious for the championship.
“At Imola [with the spin] at the chicane, just finish third and take the points. This is where Lewis [Hamilton] impresses me so much. Lewis is always there and, whenever the door is open, he’s on the podium and takes the points.
“In these areas Leclerc still needs a little bit of experience, but in general he is absolutely a guy who can win championships.”
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