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Mario Andretti

Andretti: 'Absolutely spectacular' Verstappen won't kill US F1 buzz

The Dutchman has dominated the current season with 10 wins from 12 races.

Former F1 World Champion Mario Andretti has insisted Max Verstappen's "absolutely spectacular" talent is not becoming boring for the American market.

The Red Bull driver has been stellar so far this season, securing 10 race victories out of 12 to build on the form that earned him an F1 record 15 wins en route to a second Drivers' title last term.

Verstappen's run has included the last eight races in a row - one off the record shared by Alberto Ascari and Sebastian Vettel - and has stretched his lead in the championship to 125 points over teammate Sergio Perez.

Judging the Dutchman's talent, Andretti exclusively told RacingNews365: "All you have to do is look at the record and how he has matured in a short period of time, quite honestly.

"He is carrying that mantle quite superbly, he is under a lot of pressure - of course, everyone is - but there are no mistakes.

"Right now, he's been challenged, no question. It is not easy. Let's face it, his teammate Sergio Perez is a really good driver, he has shown his abilities but Max is number one in the team and you have to support that.

"But at the same time, he has shown he can rise to any occasion under any circumstance and I don't think you could expect or want anything more from a driver.

"So right now, I look at Max Verstappen as being absolutely spectacular."

Dominance interesting

F1 has made market growth in the United States a priority since the takeover by Liberty Media in 2017, with the country now hosting three races after the addition of Las Vegas to this year's calendar.

Interest grew with the Netflix Drive to Survive docuseries as well as the tightly-fought battle between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 title, but the former's current dominance has raised concerns of a dent to American interest.

"Every fan has their own way of looking at things," said Andretti when asked if those concerns were a reality.

"From my standpoint, I think it's quite interesting and remains interesting to see how long he can go on with this dominance.

"He's making history, so that's a beautiful thing for the sport, knowing what the task is at hand, you have to admire what he has done so far and say 'keep going'.

"But the rest of the competitors, they are not sitting still either, so there is going to be a moment where he is challenged further and everyone will want to see when that moment will arrive - there is always something to look forward to.

"If you really look at it deeply and see what it takes to maintain that type of performance, not just as a driver but as a team as well - it's a team sport - and everyone is performing at the absolute limit.

"Let's see how long they can keep that going, but you look at other teams that are chomping at the bit to share that limelight.

"McLaren in the last few races, their performance has been admirable too.

"Everyone is working to the limit and that's the interesting part about it, you keep looking forward to the next event to see how it unfolds."

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