Lewis Hamilton’s forecast for Max Verstappen future as F1 rivalry comes to head

Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen will get ‘stronger and stronger as he matures’. The two drivers are currently fighting it out to win the F1 Drivers’ Championship. And, with two races to go, things are poised to come to a head.

In recent years, Hamilton has dominated Formula One with some scintillating performances on the grid.

But things have been different this time around, with Vertsappen pushing the Brit close in their battle for F1 supremacy.

Hamilton, who has won seven titles throughout his career, currently trails the Dutchman by eight points at the top of the standings.

And the Brit, speaking to BBC Sport, has claimed Verstappen will only get better in the coming years ahead.

“I can’t speak for him,” he said.

“I’ve raced against people who’ve shown something on one face but actually it’s something different.

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“I don’t know if that’s the case on the other side.

“For me, look, I’m 36. I’ve been doing this a long time so it’s not the first time I’ve been faced with a driver that’s been good and bad in certain ways and I think I’m in just a much better position to be able to handle that, to deal with that. Particularly in the limelight and the pressures of the sport.

“I know that he’s a super-fast guy, and he’s going to get stronger and stronger as he matures over time. Which he will no doubt do.

“Look at myself when I was 24, 25. Jeez, the mistakes I was making back then. I had the speed but I was going through a lot of different experiences outside the car and also being in the limelight – the pressures of being at the front.

“I don’t think I did much right then so I don’t hold that against anybody.”

In the summer, Mercedes tweaked their car to fall more in line with F1 rules.

“In Brazil, I got the car exactly where I wanted. And that was like literally hitting the nail on the head.

“But we’ve done that maybe once or twice this year. Most of the time, we’re not optimising it.”

Hamilton also reflected on the pandemic, too, admitting he’s found it even tougher this year than in 2020.

“I would say the biggest part of the pressure has been the pandemic,” continued the Brit.

“That’s really made a monumental difference in terms of the isolation, and knowing whether you can or can’t be around people.

“It’s been quite tough… I would say harder to find a balance in normal life, in and around your work life.

“Last year was all squeezed and compact, right? And so while that six months was difficult, this is the whole year of it, so I would say it’s worse this year.

“In some places, they are relaxing the rules and then it’s so easy to let your guard down and find yourself in trouble. So just constantly keeping it on your mind.

“And my social interaction is different to how it was in the past, because you keep your distance from everyone, hold your breath around everyone. So it’s definitely, I would say, much, much harder.

“I would say having the experience last year, [I’ve] maybe managed it a little bit better this year, but you still live in fear, you know?

“Everyone I see around me, all my friends, most people – maybe not people in my sport, but everyone outside in their businesses – if they miss a day of work, or a week of work, it’s not the year over, whereas it’s critical for us drivers.

“The year can be over if you miss one or two races. I’ve seen other sportsmen that are also super-relaxed and don’t care.

“If they get it, they get it, and it’s been really strange seeing that. But that’s made it difficult.”

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