Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen: Irvine makes Schumacher comparison as he assesses title rivals

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Eddie Irvine has labelled Max Verstappen the fastest driver in F1 right now, but says Lewis Hamilton is probably still the top driver, whilst also comparing the Dutchman to the great Michael Schumacher in one particular aspect.

The F1 Drivers' title fight took two significant twists at the weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with things, in the end, remaining as they were before lights out in Baku.

Indeed, Max Verstappen's retirement and Lewis Hamilton's mistake saw both come away from the shores of the Caspian Sea with 0 points to show for their efforts, as Sergio Perez picked up the pieces and won his first Grand Prix for Red Bull.

It's a title fight, then, that is set to endure for the rest of the year and Irvine says that the two protagonists both have great quality, with Max the 'fastest' and Lewis the 'top' drivers in the sport.

"The 2021 season so far has been amazing. Verstappen is definitely the fastest driver out there at the minute, but you have to say Lewis Hamilton is probably still the top driver," he said to Betway.

Irvine also went on to speak more specifically about Verstappen, suggesting the way in which the Dutchman has regularly made the team all about him in recent years is rather Michael Schumacher-like:

"Finally after six seasons, he’s definitely getting his act together. 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.

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"So it’s a bit like the Michael Schumacher effect."

Perez, of course, will want to change that this season if he can and he certainly looks the most solid second driver Red Bull have had for a number of years.

Indeed, the Red Bull package as a whole is looking its strongest in the turbo-hybrid era and it is up to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton to try and respond.

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