Verstappen wins 2021 F1 world championship
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Damon Hill has questioned whether Pierre Gasly can ever become a “great” racer, claiming the Frenchman is too much of a “good guy”. The 1996 world champion says it the “freaky things” that drivers like Max Verstappen are able to do which sets the champions apart from the rest of the field.
Gasly’s F1 career looked to be in danger after his big shot with Red Bull ended after only half a season as he was sent back to AlphaTauri over poor results.
But since returning to the sister team he has shown his pace and consistency, scoring a very impressive 110 points last year in a car which was not believed to be capable of doing so.
It was a superb season for Gasly, and also for his brief Red Bull team-mate Verstappen who pulled out all the stops to win his maiden world title.
The Frenchman has recently voiced his frustration that he wasn’t given a second chance by Red Bull despite his strong form, with the team choosing to stick with Sergio Perez for 2022.
But Hill doesn’t believe he can have too many complaints, admitting Gasly has been brilliant but doubting his star quality.
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“I think people thought he has been a class-act this year if he wasn’t already,” the retired racer told the F1 Nation podcast.
“But you’d put him in a box with the guys who are really good but the difference between those guys and the Lewis [Hamilton] and Max’s is they are stellar good. When they arrive they just blow everyone’s minds.
“You can grow in a great driver and you need an opportunity but… don’t forget Nigel [Mansell] took years and years to become a world champion.
“I think that’s the measure of the level of talent we have in F1 through the field, they are just astonishingly good, accomplished and fast and they just need a crack at the front to find out what they’ve really got, to find out whether they can take this humongous championship, let’s say the championship battle we’ve just seen, and whether they can sustain that an entire season.
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“That’s really the difference between the good guys and the really good guys.
“[Gasly] had exactly the same opportunity that Max had but it just didn’t go his way. But then he was in the same team as Max.”
As well as the fact Verstappen is the obvious ‘Golden Boy’ at Red Bull, Hill went on to say it is the Dutchman’s “freaky” ability which gives him an edge on track.
“That’s what I’m saying, they do freaky things that you just can’t believe can happen,” he added. “Other guys just have the odd thing going for them.”
Hill’s comments come after Gasly admitted he felt it was unfair that he hasn’t yet been given a second shot at Red Bull.
“My will to fight for world championships is very strong. I’m in Formula 1 to fight at the top. That motivates me to keep improving,” he told Auto Motor und Sport earlier this month.
“I won’t lie, it’s hard to deliver a season like that. And then when I compare myself to those who got the opportunity for a Red Bull seat, it’s disappointing.
“Based on the numbers and results, I have delivered a better performance than anyone else in this team.
“But at the end of the day, I don’t get the recognition and reward for that. That’s hard to swallow. It disappoints me, of course.”
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