Judging by what we’ve already seen from both Max Verstappen as well as Charles Leclerc, the two might just be the most talented young drivers in Formula 1 as of right now, and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is itching to have a real go at them.
“We’ve seen a big step with Red Bull,” said the Mercedes driver in a recent interview. “They’ve really taken a leap forward with their [Honda] power unit this year and it’s pretty great to see.”
“They’re going to go from strength to strength and Max is naturally just… he’s not a youngster necessarily in the sport anymore. While he’s young, he’s been here for a few years.”
As for Leclerc, while he trails Verstappen by 49 points in the Drivers Standings, he also came really close to a victory in Bahrain earlier this year, while also keeping his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, on his toes in almost every race.
“Charles is only in his second season, so he’s grown and I can only see him getting stronger and we’re already seeing some great performances from his this season and that one is definitely one to watch out for,” said Hamilton
“Whether or not Ferrari are going to pick up their pace, I don’t know. They’re kind of up and down at the moment – last year I think it was quite close between three of us, I think Ferrari were slightly quicker. I hope it’s close, and I hope it gets closer through the year.”
Hamilton again appears to be running away with the title, sitting comfortably 62 points clear of second-place driver, Valtteri Bottas, his teammate at Mercedes. However, the champ insists that he’s always down for a more hard fought battle.
“I’m always down, I’m always ready,” he said. “It’s just not been the case, it’s the case every year – we’re a pretty strong team – and again we just work so well, we’ve got the best teamwork and processes. It goes back to the guys who are janitors at the factory to machine shop to here to the catering to the garage to the drivers. The communication and the environment – there’s no better – and that shows weekend-in and weekend-out.”