IndyCar driver Agustin Canapino has claimed that 2023 champion and former McLaren test and reserve driver Alex Palou is a ‘more complete driver’ than Max Verstappen thanks to his abilities on oval circuits.
Verstappen is on course to claim his third consecutive F1 World Championship in style next weekend with the 25-year-old able to clinch the title in the sprint race on a Saturday for the first time in the sport’s history.
With 13 wins to his name in 2023 and team-mate Sergio Perez unable to get anywhere near him since he took his second win of the season in Baku, Verstappen’s status as the best driver currently racing in F1 has been confirmed in the eyes of many fans.
However, Canapino isn’t totally convinced. He told Fox Sports Argentina: “Palou is outstanding because for me he is the best driver in the world, in my opinion. If he is not the best, he is among the three best.
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“In my opinion, Palou is more complete than Verstappen. What Palou does in IndyCar for me is really like being an extraterrestrial. But it is a very subjective opinion.
“Verstappen is another alien too. Don’t let Verstappen’s followers criticise me because I have Verstappen in limbo too but, for me, the fact of racing on ovals makes IndyCar drivers different because the oval is the absolute extreme and F1 doesn’t have that.
“That’s why, for me, a driver like Palou, who sets the standard difference in all types of circuits, in all types of disciplines, makes him an extraterrestrial.”
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Canapino, who made his IndyCar debut at the 2023 season opener at St. Pete after switching from Argentine touring car racing, is right to be enamoured with the way Palou was driving in 2023.
The now two-time champion finished in the top ten of all 17 races on the IndyCar calendar last season, securing 13 top-five finishes and taking five wins. This ensured that the Spanish sensation wrapped up the title with a round to spare, denying fans a season finale title shootout for the first time since 2007.
Unfortunately for Palou, this wasn’t enough to earn him a place on the F1 grid for 2024. Despite links to AlphaTauri and Williams, as well as his test and reserve duties with McLaren, the 26-year-old has committed his future to IndyCar racing moving forward.
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