Rosberg hails Verstappen: 'The best driver on the grid after Lewis'

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2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg has labelled Max Verstappen as the 'best driver on the grid' after Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman has been a master of maximising results this season and did so again at the French Grand Prix, splitting the two Ferraris to finish fourth at Paul Ricard.

"The Max Verstappen season is perfect,” the former Mercedes driver said on his YouTube channel.

“After Lewis, he is the best driver on the current grid. He gets the maximum out of the car and grabs the maximum number of points that can be achieved with the RB15.

"More than P4 is simply not available at the moment."

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After Sunday's race, the 21-year-old showed the first signs of frustration with Red Bull's performance demanding improvements both from the car and the Honda engine.

And looking ahead to this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, a race he won after both Mercedes' retired in 2018, he was downbeat about his chances.

“I'm gonna be realistic and say it'll be difficult,” he said when asked if he'd give the thousands of Dutch fans that head to Spielberg something to cheer.

“It's not gonna get me more power. If it would, you're doing something wrong on all the other tracks.

“Of course, I'm happy to see them and I'm gonna try and give them a good result, but I don't expect miracles.”

Since teaming up with Honda at the start of the year, the comments from Red Bull on their engine supplier have been largely positive based on the progress that has been made.

However, Ziggo Sport pundit and former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos offered a startling suggestion at the power deficit that remains.

"He is still very relaxed in his comment, he does his thing but says 'Red Bull, you have to go to the bucket and Honda, you also have to go to the bucket'," he said of Verstappen's reaction.

"They [Honda] are still 60 horsepower short, 60! I know, because I still have a bird here and there. That is bizarre, but about the same as with Renault during the bad period.

"Honda just needs to work a little harder to get to the right level and of course Red Bull also with the chassis."