Lewis Hamilton has dismissed talk of an “easy” title race this year and is wary of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen’s victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday has earned the attention of Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton (1/10 Drivers’ Championship Outright), who insists he can’t afford to overlook his Red Bull rival.
It looked like it was going to be business as usual in 2020 after Hamilton, who is seeking a fourth successive world title, won three of the opening four races, while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas (8/1 Drivers’ Championship Outright) took the other chequered flag.
However, Verstappen (12/1 Drivers’ Championship Outright) stepped up on Sunday to earn a dominant win at Silverstone, finishing 11 seconds clear of Hamilton in second.
Red Bull outsmarted Mercedes on strategy at the home of British racing and the Dutchman has moved up to second spot in the Drivers’ Championship – 30 points shy of leader Hamilton.
Many felt it would be a two-way battle for the title between Mercedes duo Hamilton and Bottas, but the former admits it would be wrong to write off Verstappen with so much of the season still to unfold.
Hamilton said: “I think it’s great. I want to have races where they’re challenging.
“Obviously the Red Bull seems to be quite close in race conditions to us and obviously [they were] stronger [on Sunday] so it shows they don’t have as bad a package as perhaps people had said in the past.
“But I think it’s good. It will be interesting to see the progression through the rest of the year and I definitely will not overlook them.
“I think we’ve got to keep a close eye on them and keep working to push forwards because I don’t think it’s going to be easy by any means.”