Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen on F1’s generation games

Max Verstappen says he is not only young F1 star capable of taking on Lewis Hamilton amid the sport’s rising generation of drivers.

Fresh from his breathtaking victory at the last race in Austria, Verstappen was this week hailed as the “the best driver in the world” over the past 12 months by his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Horner also backed the 21-year-old to beat Hamilton, F1’s five-time champion, were they pitted against each other in the same team.

Verstappen admitted it is “always good to have your team boss saying that” when he faced the media at the British GP on Thursday, but would not be drawn on whether he felt he would beat Hamilton in identical machinery.

And the Dutchman added: “I think there are more great drivers out there who can take him on.”

Hamilton, the sport’s established superstar, was also asked for his thoughts on the Red Bull bosses’ suggestion.

“I don’t compare myself to anybody, I don’t need to,” said Hamilton.

“I don’t really have an answer to his claims. Ultimately every now and then somebody needs certain attention…”

Nonetheless, Hamilton praised “exciting” Verstappen for the Dutchman’s current level of performance and win in Austria, when he charged back from seventh to first.

“I think Max has been doing a great job and he’s really, really exciting to watch,” added Hamilton. “I think the last race was really fantastic. It’ll be interesting to see how they do moving forwards.”

Hamilton on Britain’s two F1 rookies
Silverstone’s Drivers’ Press Conference represented something of an F1 ‘generation game’ with the 34-year-old Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, who turned 30 last week, sitting alongside three young rookies – Lando Norris, 19, George Russell, 21, and 25-year-old Antonio Giovinazzi.

“Me and Daniel were just saying that we’re having to represent for the 30 crew!” joked Hamilton, the grid’s third-oldest man.

As Britain’s most famous – and most successful – F1 driver, Hamilton was also asked if he had any advice for compatriots Norris and Russell, who are making their home GP debuts this weekend.

“I don’t think I need to give them any advice,” replied Hamilton. “They’ve obviously come through similar ranks to myself and are doing an exceptional job.

“Both have completely different challenges. George is in a team that have struggled for some time but is a part of helping them take steps to improve. I’m a huge fan of Frank [Williams] and what they’ve achieved in their history. I think that’s a team that needs to be up at the top with the rest of them.

“It’s amazing to see McLaren doing so well, they’ve had some really tough years as well. Just watching Lando’s progression. It’s incredibly impressive to be so young and such an early phase he’s coming in, and keeping a level head and delivering on weekends, up against a driver who’s got more experience than him.

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