'I'm ready' – Lewis Hamilton sends warning to Max Verstappen ahead of Dutch GP

Sir Lewis Hamilton says he is ‘ready’ to challenge Max Verstappen as soon as his Mercedes is up to the task.

It’s been another frustrating season for the seven-time world champion who, like the rest of the grid, has been unable to get near the pace of the Red Bulls who have won all 12 races so far in 2023.

10 of those victories have gone to Verstappen who, barring a complete collapse in form, has all but sealed a third title in a row.

Formula One returns from its summer break this weekend, with the Dutchman looking to win a joint-record ninth race in a row at his home grand prix at Zandvoort.

Many seem resigned to the belief that Red Bull can go the rest of the season unbeaten and as such teams and drivers are already shifting focus to next year, when they hope the gap to the pace setters will be a lot smaller.

Hamilton, still looking for his first win since the end of 2021, says he himself is in the right shape to battle his rival and is just waiting for his Mercedes team to deliver a car worthy of the fight.

‘I’m trying to prepare myself for when the car is ready to challenge and beat Max. I definitely think I’m ready,’ he told Sky Sports on Thursday.

‘I think at the moment the only way we can do that is to capitalise on any potential mistakes which they don’t tend to make but if they do I’ll be there.’

For now, the 38-year-old is fourth in the championship, just a point behind Fernando Alonso and 41 points off Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez.

Mercedes are in a good place to finish second in the constructors’ standings, with the team over 50 points clear of Aston Martin and Ferrari, though much can change between now and the finale in Abu Dhabi.

Asked what his targets were for the remainder of the year, Hamilton added: ‘My goal is to try and figure out how to have the best 10 races I have ever had in the second-half of the season.

‘Of course, we know performance wise that we’re not going to blitz these races but maximising points every weekend, holding onto second in the constructors’ championship and chasing down Perez! That’s my goal.’

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