• Formula One legend Eddie Irvine commented on Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's performance in Baku
  • Irvine compared Verstappen's game to that of Michael Schumacher's back in the day
  • The Red Bull driver is certain he is faster than Hamilton

Red Bull talisman Max Verstappen has got a former Formula One driver raving about his latest performance.

The Formula One title race this season has been quite intense with Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton expected to bounce back after having failed to earn points in the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Weighing in on the pair’s performance, former Scuderia Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine likened Verstappen to the legendary Michael Schumacher while also hailing the Dutchman as “the fastest driver” in F1 at the moment.

However, the former Formula One Drivers’ Championship runner-up insisted that Verstappen’s nemesis, seven-time world champion Hamilton, is still at the top of the food chain.

“The 2021 season so far has been amazing,” Irvine recently told Betway. “[Max] Verstappen is definitely the fastest driver out there at the minute, but you have to say Lewis Hamilton is probably still the top driver.”

“Finally after six seasons, [Verstappen’s] he’s definitely getting his act together,” he added. “He’s always been super-fast, and you can see that he’s by far the most dominant team leader on the grid. He’s had many, many different second drivers in the team and none of them have got close to him. So it’s a bit like the Michael Schumacher effect."

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher retired from Formula 1 in 2012 after returning to the sport for three seasons with Mercedes. Getty Images

Verstappen and Hamilton are still two of the most remarkable drivers of their generation, but they both ended up botching their opportunity to move up in the title rankings in Baku.

The Mercedes superstar locked up in the closing laps of the race, while Verstappen got suspended after a devastating crash.

Despite the pair not being able to finish the race with a victory, Verstappen was confident that he would’ve done a lot better if he had Hamilton’s car.

“I think if I'm in his [Hamilton’s] car I'm still two tenths faster than him,” Verstappen told reporters after the race. “I don't care what he says.”

“Of course it makes a difference [Hamilton not scoring any points], but of course I would have preferred to have walked away [with victory],” he pointed out. “I'm sure on normal circuits it becomes a lot harder to have a race like we had here.”

The Canadian Grand Prix is fast approaching, and once again, Verstappen and Hamilton will be looking to redeem themselves in another thrilling race. Despite the stiff competition, the former acknowledged the positive impact of their growing rivalry.

“Lewis [Hamilton] has to fight this year not only with his teammate but also with another team,” he explained. “That adds an extra dimension and I think that's only good for the sport.”

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Singapore Grand Prix victory on the podium a year ago with second-placed Max Verstappen (left) and third-placed Sebastian Vettel
Lewis Hamilton AFP / Manan VATSYAYANA