Lewis Hamilton questioned the strength of Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 teammates compared to those the Briton has partnered over the years.
The seven-time F1 world champion and Mercedes driver also told Sky Italy that he was “no more impressed” with the Red Bull driver’s achievements than he had been when other F1 champions were winning and dominating.
“When I qualified half a second, six-tenths ahead of Valtteri (Bottas), they (the media) didn’t say the same thing as they say today when Max qualifies six-tenths ahead of (Sergio) Perez. It’s blown up much more. In my personal opinion, Valtteri and all of my teammates have been stronger than the teammates that Max has had.
“Jenson (Button), Fernando (Alonso), George (Russell), Valtteri, Nico (Rosberg). I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very, very strong, very consistent and Max has not raced against anyone like that,” argued Hamilton.
Verstappen is chasing his 10th successive GP win this weekend at Monza
Despite an early challenge, Verstappen leads Perez, teammate and closest title challenger, by a mighty 138 points after 13 of 22 races.
The Dutch 25-year-old made his debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz, now at Ferrari, as his teammate.
Verstappen ended that season with 49 points to Sainz’s 18. He moved up to Red Bull in 2016 and over the years has been a teammate to Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Perez.
Ricciardo scored more points in 2016, understandable since Verstappen did the first four races with Toro Rosso, and also in 2017. No other teammate has come close since then.
Hamilton was beaten by 2009 F1 world champion Button in 2011, by Rosberg in 2016 when the German took the title and by Russell in 2022.
He finished level on points, but ahead on results, of double F1 world champion Alonso in 2007 but Heikki Kovalainen in 2008 and 2009 was easy to deal with and Bottas, ordained as the best wingman during his time at Mercedes, never managed a sustained challenge.