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Honda website

JANUARY 5, 2017

Merhi not impressed by Verstappen hype

Former F1 driver Roberto Merhi has moved to calm the hype surrounding Max Verstappen.

Young Dutchman Verstappen is widely regarded as nothing short of a Senna-like F1 sensation, but former Manor driver Merhi is not as ready with the superlatives.

"Max was in the right place at the right time," he told the Spanish sports daily AS.

"There is no doubt that he is a very good driver, but it's also true that everything came to him."

Merhi thinks Verstappen has also got away with a lot of track infractions, and "I don't know whether it was because he is so young or because he is spectacular".

Merhi, now a sports car driver and avid amateur cyclist, also admitted he was not too impressed with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in 2016.

"I don't know if it was him having a bad year, Raikkonen having a good year or a little of the two," said the Spaniard.

Finally, Merhi criticised Mercedes, for trying to call off the on-track championship fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the dying moments of the 2016 season.

"Hamilton was only doing what he had to do, and even if it was his teammate, he was playing all of his last options to be champion," he said.

"I would have done the same or even worse. I can't understand Mercedes at all, because they were no longer fighting for the constructors' or even the driver's championship," Merhi added.