Max Verstappen believes Lewis Hamilton is still one of the best Formula 1 drivers our there, and given a proper car, can fight for the Title again in 2023.
Verstappen used up all 22 grands prix from the 2021 F1 season in order to bear Hamilton for the Title that year, and while everyone was waiting for the Briton to come back swinging in 2022, Mercedes got their sums wrongs with their W13 that year and got the new “ground effect” regulations wrong.
That meant Hamilton couldn’t even win a race in 2022, the first time such a thing happening in his illustrious career, but Verstappen believes it’s the car rather than the driver.
Speaking to Sky Sports at the launch of Red Bull’s 2023 car, the RB19, Verstappen pointed out that Hamilton as well as several other drivers are Championship material, once given the proper tools.
“He [Hamilton] has been one of the greatest drivers ever in the sport, so for sure if he has the car to do it, he can fight for the title again,” Verstappen said. “But, that’s the same for George [Russell], and the same for Charles [Leclerc], it’s the same for Lando [Norris]. If you give them a car which is capable of winning a championship, they can.
“But it’s also about when you have the car, the pressure comes,” he pointed out. “You cannot afford mistakes or at least you cannot afford big mistakes, but that’s the level of the different pressure you have.
“But I’m confident that once these guys, they get into a role like that, it is all possible. They have the talent to do so,” the double F1 Champion insisted.
Three is my favourite number…
Verstappen for his third consecutive F1 Title in 2023, but tried to play down his chances despite his utter dominance of the 2022 season, where he secured his second Drivers’ Crown with four races to spare.
“Well, my favourite number is of course number three,” the Dutchman said. “Of course, you always try to go for it, but I don’t know if we are going to be good enough.
“Of course as a team we believe we are, we are very motivated, we come off the back of a very strong year and we are working flat out to try and achieve that.
“Everyone back at the factory, the whole winter was working flat out and once I came back from my holiday, I was also working flat out to try and be in the best shape possible and once you get back into the car, you know that its go time and you have to deliver,” he explained.
There are only five triple F1 Champions in the history of the sport: Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, and Ayrton Senna, and Verstappen has the chance to have his name next to these great five drivers should he win the 2023 F1 Title.