F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season
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The managing director of Honda F1, Masashi Yamamoto, has highlighted similarities between Max Verstappen and one of Formula One’s all-time greats Ayrton Senna, after an emphatic Monaco Grand Prix win.
Hot off the trail of winning in the Principality, Verstappen stormed to a commanding win around one of the most challenging circuits, with Yamamoto comparing the Red Bull driver to the late great Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna.
The win represented the first time Honda, either as a factory team or engine supplier, have won F1’s flagship event since 1992, with Senna behind the wheel, after Nigel Mansell took pole in his Williams-Renault.
The Briton lead until lap 71, when he suspected he had a puncture and pitted, handing Senna his fifth win around Monaco, equalling a record set by Graham Hill.
And now with Verstappen stopping the rut, the Japanese has drawn parallels between the pair.
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Writing on Honda F1’s personal blog, Yamamoto said: “Honda won the Monaco Grand Prix six times in a row from 1987 to 1992, five of those victories coming from Ayrton Senna.”
“Coincidentally, this is the first time for Honda to win in Monaco since Senna in the second season, but I always see an overlap between Verstappen and Ayrton Senna, who is a very special driver for Honda because his driving is very similar to Senna’s.
“At just 23 years of age, he still has the potential to match and surpass Senna’s record of six Monaco victories and I’m delighted to have helped him take that step.”
Red Bull have now taken the lead in both the driver’s and the constructor’s standings, giving them an advantage over Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes heading into Baku, which Yamamoto believed is a big boost for the team.
He added: “So winning here is a real confidence booster for Red Bull Racing Honda and a great morale booster for the whole team as we fight for the championship in the long and difficult season ahead, starting with Azerbaijan. It was an exceptional victory for everyone.”
Mercedes have won both titles consecutively for the past seven years, with Hamilton winning six of the titles and his then team-mate Nico Rosberg winning one.
It was the first time in the Dutchman’s career he has taken control of the driver’s standings with a four-point lead over Hamilton in the Mercedes.
The pair will go wheel-to-wheel again on June 6 for round six of the championship in Baku, Azerbaijan.
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