Former racing driver Karun Chandhok believes Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is now mature enough to win his maiden world championship in the 2019 season.
Verstappen has been regarded as one of the most talented F1 drivers around since making his debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix before his maiden win at the 2016 Spanish GP further enhanced his reputation.
However, the 21-year-old has been accused of being naive at times and made an error-strewn start to the 2018 campaign, with two retirements suffered in the first four races.
Questions were asked about the Dutchman’s ability to deal with the mental side of the sport but he proved doubters wrong when taking the spoils in Austria in race-week nine.
Impressively, the Red Bull ace outscored every driver except world champion Lewis Hamilton in the second half of last season, leading to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel backing his rival for a 2019 title push.
Chandhok, who spent two years in F1 with HRT and Lotus from 2010 to 2011, has now thrown his support behind Verstappen and believes he can challenge seriously for honours.
“I think Max has now matured enough and he’s ready to be world champion,” he said at Autosport International.
“He’s like Lewis was in 2008, he’s ready to be fighting for the world championship and put together a season-long campaign. It’s whether Honda can deliver for Red Bull.”
Verstappen is 5.25 to break his world title duck this season while Hamilton is the 1.75 favourite to retain his crown ahead of 4.33 chance Vettel.