Verstappen gives his take on Hamilton’s age and how it affects title

Max Verstappen has rubbished claims that Lewis Hamilton is past his best. The reigning world champion insists age is just a number when it comes to F1.

Hamilton turned 38 in January and is aiming to win a record eighth world title this year. He isn’t the oldest driver on the grid, with old rival Fernando Alonso holding that title at the age of 41.

Last season was Hamilton’s most disappointing campaign in recent memory. The Mercedes car was away behind their Red Bull and Ferrari rivals.

But the Brit wasn’t even the top driver for his team, with George Russell scoring 275 points to Hamilton’s 240. That led to some claims that Hamilton was past his best as he moves towards the end of his career.

F1 season preview as Max Verstappen looks to defend world title

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Verstappen insists that isn’t the case, telling the Evening Standard: “I think in F1 age is not like where you lose a bit of pace. I think Fernando shows that it’s definitely possible to continue at the top.”

Russell has already admitted Mercedes will not be in contention to win the season opener in Bahrain this weekend. But Dutch driver Verstappen doesn’t doubt they could come good this year.

He added: “I don’t count out Lewis and Mercedes. They have a different philosophy and maybe it takes a little bit more time to nail it.

“With these new cars, we don’t know what direction it is going to give the biggest margin in terms of where you improve. Maybe at one point, we stall, I don’t know. Maybe they still have a lot of untapped potential.”

Hamilton admits pre-season testing hasn’t gone the way he or Merceces would have liked. But he knows they have the winning experience in the team needed when their backs are against the wall.

He said: “We’re not where we wanted to start a season but this is still a multi-championship-winning team and group of people. We’ve had a few days of digesting the data.

“We still have a good challenge up ahead of us and I knew from the moment I drove the car where we were and the challenges we could be facing. But not having bouncing this year is a huge plus. Now, we can focus on pure performance.”

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