His driving is not only better than last year, but he has improved in the second quarter of the season.
His qualifying consistency was an area he really struggled in during 2018 – he was always a quick qualifier, but couldn’t string together three sectors when it really mattered. I actually seem to recall this inconsistency being amongst the highest (worst) in the field. In 2019, it began a similar way, but by the midpoint of the year, he is level on his qualifying performances with Vettel. Before people get triggered, let’s not quibble over the number of qualifying wins between Vettel and him, and simply say, the data evidences a significant improvement.
Vettel is amongst the best qualifiers in the business, so that is worth highlighting.
He has also been delivering better results across the weekend in the 2nd quarter of 2019, allowing him to close on the points advantage to Vettel.
Another instance worth mentioning is how quickly he learned from Austria. He realised the limit that day and made he adjustment required for Silverstone. He was punchier, to the point where one of the punchier drivers in the grid, Verstappen, was kept at bay lap after lap. It was some of the best defensive driving we have seen for some time.
So all in all, in his first season with Ferrari, we have seen improvement in a number of areas. The consistency and reliability will improve with time as it did with Verstappen.