Lewis Hamilton has denied the idea that Formula 1 is currently in a ‘Max Verstappen era’, given the fact the Dutchman won the incredibly close 2021 championship, and then demolished the field this season.
Hamilton, of course, was defeated at the “manipulated” 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has gone on to have no say in the title fight this year, given Mercedes’ struggles.
He has, though, watched on as the Dutchman has cruised to a second consecutive Drivers’ Championship this year, following an underwhelming fight against Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen wrapped up the title with four races remaining in Japan, and then went on to claim his 13th victory of the season at the United States last weekend.
The 25-year-old has now matched Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record of 13 wins in a single season, meaning he can eclipse them at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Despite his dominance, though, Hamilton doesn’t believe the sport is in a ‘Verstappen era’, and that his side can stop such a thing from happening.
“It is too early to say,” said Hamilton.
“If we get into next year and they’re dominating again, then yes, but the Ferraris have been quicker than them throughout qualifying…
“I think they’ve probably had better performance for the majority of the season. Now, all they need to do is pick up their race pace and they’ll be right with them.
“I think we’ve got a much, much bigger step and steeper hill to climb, but hopefully not impossible.”
The Red Bull star’s main rival this season was asked the exact same question, with Leclerc agreeing with Hamilton that the sport isn’t currently in an era of the Dutchman, and that he is going to do “everything” to “prevent it”.
“I hope not,” said the Monegasque.
“I will do everything I can to prevent that and as a team we are also working on that.
“I think it is very clear for us where we need to improve. Over one lap, we are really strong and I think we are on the same level as Red Bull — over the course of a race, then we are struggling with tyres.
“Looking back at the season, there’s been not only tyre degradation, but there have been mistakes in strategy, communication and tyre management.
“We are trying to use these last races in the best way possible in order to challenge Max and Red Bull for the championship next year.
“I’m confident we can do that because I know how hard we are working and I’m confident that we are working in the right direction.”