Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are fighting over the F1 world championship this season and the latest stop is in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix. Express Sport will bring you all the action as it happens.
Lewis Hamilton has told Max Verstappen it is “game on” as Formula One’s title rivals gear up for the fourth chapter of their championship battle in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton holds an eight-point advantage over Verstappen following his second win of the season in Portugal last weekend.
Red Bull started the year with the speediest machinery, but there was an all-too-familiar look to the top of the timesheets at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Friday as Hamilton led team-mate Valtteri Bottas in an ominous Mercedes one-two.
Verstappen finished only ninth after he was forced to abandon his hot lap when he ran wide at the new left-handed turn 10.
Verstappen, already 0.134 seconds slower than Hamilton before the error, elected not to run again, thus handing the initiative to Mercedes.
The Dutchman will mark his 100th appearance on Sunday. Verstappen was only 17 when he was handed his debut by Toro Rosso in 2015.
The following year he was promoted to Red Bull, winning for the team in Spain in his maiden drive after Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out.
“Max has more experience now and he is clearly incredibly hungry to win more races and to win this championship so it is game on,” said Hamilton.
“That’s what we are here to do, to race, to be fighting for wins, and the battles that we have had in these first few races have been amazing. I am excited to enjoy more.
“It is crazy to think there are still 20 races to go, and you are seeing the closest battle we have had for some time.
“Max has a championship-winning car and a championship-winning team who can pull off the job if we don’t do ours. From my side, experience will help, but we have to get the job done.”
Verstappen’s championship pedigree will face another stern examination in Barcelona.