Max Verstappen won Sunday’s season finale in Abu Dhabi to claim a record-extending 15th victory of the campaign, having previously wrapped up his second successive title; 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg: “He’s already one of the best of all-time and I think, he’s only getting started.”
Last Updated: 21/11/22 9:42pm
Max Verstappen has already established himself as one of Formula 1’s “best of all time” after delivering “one of the greatest driving seasons ever seen”, according to former world champion Nico Rosberg.
Verstappen won Sunday’s season finale in Abu Dhabi to claim a record-extending 15th victory of the campaign, having previously wrapped up his second successive title with four races to spare.
The 25-year-old Dutchman’s dominant triumph came after a concerning start to the season, which saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc open up a 46-point lead as Verstappen retired from two of the first three races.
“He is an incredible driver,” 2016 world champion Rosberg told Sky Sports F1’s Any Driven Monday.
“I think it’s easy to say even now that’s he’s going to be one of the best of all time, if you look at the statistics he actually even is now.”
Verstappen’s 2022 victories took his career tally to 35, moving him up to sixth on the sport’s all-time list, which is topped by Lewis Hamilton with 103.
“He’s a double world champion with all of the race wins that he has, more than (Fernando) Alonso,” Rosberg continued.
“He’s already one of the best of all time and I think, he’s only getting started.
“He’s going to confirm that in the next decade, certainly. His level of driving is phenomenal and it’s great to witness that.”
Verstappen’s many victories came in all forms, with wins from seven different positions on the grid, including a memorable triumph from 14th at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari pushed Red Bull hard, particularly during the first half of the season, with Leclerc ending the year with nine pole positions to Verstappen’s seven.
However, reliability issues, strategic blunders and driver errors from the Italian team on race days were taken advantage of by the ruthless Verstappen, who hardly put a foot wrong all season.
“We need to remember also, it’s not like from the get-go this year his car was miles quicker than everyone else’s,” Rosberg said.
“The Ferrari was the quickest car in the beginning of the season and still, he got this incredible 15 wins and really destroyed the opposition in that way.
“If you look at the points, he scored 146 more than anybody else, it’s unreal. It’s one of the greatest driving seasons we’ve ever seen certainly.”