Mercedes ace Lewis Hamilton admits he will have to work even harder to keep the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at bay (Leclerc 6/4 – Italian GP Outright).
The Brit has dominated Formula 1 over recent years but there are signs he could come under a serious challenge from the new kids on the block.
Hamilton, who is 15/8 to win this weekend’s Italian GP, looks well on track to win his sixth world title this season after taking the chequered flag at eight of the 13 races in 2019.
He sits 65 points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and is expected to win the Drivers’ Championship for a third successive season.
However, he can’t afford to be complacent due to the emergence of Red Bull’s Verstappen and Ferrari starlet Leclerc.
21-year-old Verstappen has built up plenty of experience since making his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 and he finally appears to have matured this term (Verstappen 20/1 – Italian GP Outright).
Leclerc, who is the same age as the Dutchman, is only in his second season on the grid but he looks the real deal after linking up with Ferrari.
The Monegasque picked up Ferrari’s first win of 2019 last time out in Belgium and he will hope to do the business for the Scuderia at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
Hamilton is fully aware that the duo are improving with every race that passes and insists he will have to work twice as hard.
“They are both doing a phenomenal job,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“It’s interesting to watch their journey because I’ve been there at that age in the earlier part of my career and seeing the trials and tribulations you go through. So I can empathise with what they are going through.
“I’ve got to work twice as hard now to stay ahead of them because they are fresh and young and energised, and it’s harder when you get older to stay as fit, as driven and as sharp.”
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