Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen character assessment after Monza – 'he's in puppy stage'

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen character assessment after Monza – 'he's in puppy stage'

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Max Verstappen is faster than Lewis Hamilton, but added that he thinks the 23-year-old is is still in the "puppy stage"

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Sir Jackie Stewart believes Max Verstappen is faster than Lewis Hamilton, but added that he thinks the 23-year-old is is still in the “puppy stage” of his career alongside the highly experienced seven-time world champion.

Verstappen and Hamilton have been embroiled in a fierce battle all season, with the two coming to blows at the Italian Grand Prix as tensions boiled over on track.

The pair tangled at Monza, with Verstappen deemed more at fault for the incident which ended both their races, but still leads the way over Hamilton by five points heading to Russia.

“I think they [Mercedes] have the best package at the moment, but Red Bull have really shown themselves to be hot,” Stewart told talkSPORT.

“I think it will be between both of them. Verstappen, I think now is the fastest driver in the business, but is still slightly in the puppy stage.

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“At the same time, Lewis may be approaching the end of his career in Formula 1, so I think the future holds more in the Verstappen field. But don’t count out Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton is an extremely good driver.”

The incident was the second of the year for the two title protagonists after they crashed heavily at the British Grand Prix, with Verstappen ending up in hospital for further checks.

He was released with no major injuries on Sunday evening, but Stewart felt it was just another example of the drivers being a little bit overzealous this season.

“It was yet another experience of the two drivers being a little bit over anxious to get on with the job,” Stewart explained.

“It was an early part of the race and not something you want to push too hard on to begin with.

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