MAY 25, 2016
Verstappen unbelievable at 18 says Prost
F1 legend Alain Prost says Max Verstappen has been impressive beyond his mere age of 18.
Some pundits are warning the F1 world not to go overboard in praise for the sport's youngest ever winner, but Frenchman Prost is not among them.
A winner of 51 grand prix wins and four titles, and the former teammate of the legendary Ayrton Senna, Prost said of Verstappen: "What we saw in Barcelona was amazing.
"It is almost frightening, considering that he started at 4 in karts, so he has been in racing almost all of his life," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
"In my time, you could only race once you had a driver's license. I did my first formula one race at 25, but these days you are already on the scrap heap.
"I sometimes talk with him and the amount of race experience he has at 18 years is unbelievable," Prost continued. "He is 18 years old and knows all the tricks of an experienced driver.
"From my generation with Senna to Schumacher, Alonso to Vettel and now Max, it was always in the same direction: the drivers getting younger."
But there were some exceptions. "We had Mike Thackwell, who was 19 when he made his F1 debut, and one or two other young drivers who came into F1 and it destroyed them. They were simply too young," said Prost.
"Verstappen on the other hand does not act like an 18-year-old," he added.
"But the rules and the cars today allow a young driver to do a good job, which was not possible in my generation because it required a lot more experience and kilometres to succeed."
Nonetheless, Prost is particularly impressed with Verstappen.
"We have never seen a driver at his age who can withstand the pressure like he can," the 61-year-old told Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport.
"We have seen drivers who are very strong in mediocre teams, but then suffered with the pressure in a top team. But (in Barcelona) he made no mistakes all weekend," Prost said.