Two drivers emerged this season head above the rest, Lewis Hamilton did what he is paid big money to do by hauling in another two Formula 1 titles for himself and his team, while young Max Verstappen stepped up to another level on track.
Ignoring the hullabaloo of the Esteban Ocon incident, Verstappen drove a superb race before and after that the unfortunate incident. Prior to Brazil he won with an impressive performance in Mexico, love him or not he is a mighty force in the sport, not only for his immense skills but also for the headlines he generates.
Hamilton, in the wake of winning his fifth world title and helping Mercedes to a fifth in a row constructors’ triumph, knows that with a strong package Verstappen will be a formidable force and a likely challenger to his crown.
“This year they’ve been incredibly strong and I can only imagine next year, they’re going to be even stronger,” Hamilton acknowledged in an interview with Sky F1.
“I think for the sport it will be great if Red Bull are more in the battle with Ferrari and Mercedes and we welcome any more teams. Max is driving really well this year. He’s such an awesome, young talent. I’m looking forward to many races with him.”
“At the weekend in Brazil, we had the engine problems so I didn’t feel I was really able to fight with him on track but I’m looking forward to the day that happens.”
Regarding the incident – between race leader at the time Verstappen and Ocon being lapped – that gifted him the lead and ultimately victory, Hamilton said, I saw it happen and it wasn’t something that… I wasn’t surprised by it or anything like that.”
“I saw them racing but they weren’t racing for the same position. In my mind, I would have been in a different frame of mind. Fortunately, he was able to keep going, no one got hurt, and they kept going, it’s a racing incident I guess. Max is that go-getter guy and every now and then it bites you,” opined Hamilton.