Verstappen on similarity between himself and Alonso: “Having that extra capacity is a big advantage”

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In a recent interview with The Times, Max Verstappen identified a specific ability that he believes can give him an edge over his competitors.

“The thing is with people like him [Johan Cruyff], they are so talented, when they are playing or racing, they have so much more capacity for other things to think about. I think that’s how he was when he was playing or coaching; his vision was so much wider than most other people.

“I do like to think that having extra capacity is a big advantage in F1 as well,”

“You are talking to the engineer but I am also hearing a pitstop by a Ferrari car. I asked, ‘Did they box? I heard that on the radio’,” Verstappen explained, referring to the Abu Dhabi GP 2019, when he correctly deduced that both Charles Leclerc and teammate Sebastian Vettel were on a two-stop strategy.

More recently, Verstappen had people commenting on this talent after a radio exchange was broadcast between him and his race engineer during the Spanish Grand Prix, where he remarked that he could hear Helmut Marko’s phone ringing somewhere in the garage.

“But if you are fully focused on your driving, you probably won’t pick it up because you are fully focused on his voice.”

Verstappen added that he also recognises this trait in fellow racer and two-time World Champion, Fernando Alonso.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

“For me, definitely Fernando—I can feel that, from the way he operates in the car, picking up on little things, showing this extra capacity—still driving at the limit but thinking about other stuff as well.”

Alonso was recently heard giving teammate Lance Stroll advice regarding brake balance settings over team radio on top of managing his own race.

Asked if he sees this extra capacity in other drivers he races against, such as Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen said: “No, because Fernando stands out more with that. People will probably start hating me for [saying] that, but just that’s how I see it.”