MARK WEBBER claims Max Verstappen’s F1 title win was ‘even sweeter’ as he beat a ‘fit and hungry’ Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen secured a controversial win in the season’s final race at Abu Dhabi to lift his first-ever Formula One crown.
The Red Bull ace overtook Hamilton on the final lap following a safety car decision.
And Verstappen has since been widely lauded for ending the Mercedes ace’s domination of the sport.
It now remains to be seen if the pair go at it again next season, with Hamilton tipped to retire.
But former Red Bull man Webber believes there was nothing holding the Brit back at Abu Dhabi, insisting Verstappen beat Hamilton in his prime.
Webber declared: “He (Verstappen) was watching F1 for a long time, he saw Lewis dominating the sport and was like, ‘I want a piece of that’.
“He’s not overwhelmed by individuals, he doesn’t play people on their reputations, he doesn’t drive on their reputations.
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“He just sees it as ‘this is my turf, I’m a racing driver and I’m going to make my presence felt’, which he does extraordinarily well.
“So I think for him to know he went against Lewis, there was no real attrition.
“Yes he had the puncture in Baku, the shunt in Silverstone which was Lewis’ fault, Max was a bit out of order in Saudi I felt.
“So they’ve had their trials and tribulations but ultimately he knows he’s beaten a hungry Hamilton, a fit Hamilton.”
Webber now believes Verstappen can go on to emulate Hamilton’s era of domination, adding: “The maturity Max’s showed for his age when he came into the sport, he has biblical levels of confidence and feel, at the highest level. These cars are not easy to get on top of early.
“Through karting and F3, Red Bull took the risk, and he is right up there in terms of what Red Bull stands for to compete and race hard.
“Verstappen has captivated a nation. Look at the Dutch Grand Prix this year. That was phenomenal for the sport, a new benchmark for that.
“These [drivers] come along once every 10 years. Verstappen is absolutely phenomenal, and the sport should be embracing him.”