Lewis Hamilton tipped for Max Verstappen showdown in 2024

Jenson Button thinks Mercedes can bridge the gap to Red Bull next season, allowing Lewis Hamilton to challenge Max Verstappen.

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button believes Lewis Hamilton can challenge Max Verstappen for the title next season, if given a good enough car by Mercedes.

Verstappen has faced little competition since controversially beating Hamilton to the 2021 Drivers’ Championship, which happened after former race director Michael Masi made a ‘human error’.

Red Bull have been by far the most superior team since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced at the start of 2022, with the Austrians having won 27 of the 32 completed races since then.

23 of those victories have come courtesy of Verstappen, who is yet to finish lower than second in 2023.

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Apart from a brief challenge by Charles Leclerc last season, Verstappen ultimately cruised to the title last season, whilst he’s set to claim a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship this season.

Mercedes have had no answer to Red Bull’s dominance, largely because they’ve designed two disappointing cars since the recent regulations change.

As a result, Hamilton hasn’t had the machinery in order to take the fight to the Dutchman, something he’d presumably love to do.

He’s called for the Silver Arrows to switch their focus to 2024 and ditch the W14, which he’s claimed four podiums in this season.

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Due to the fact that Verstappen and Red Bull lead both standings so comfortably, the likelihood is that the Austrians will soon focus on their 2024 challenger.

Should Red Bull start preparing for 2024 before Mercedes, then Hamilton can likely forget about a title challenge next season.

If Mercedes get to work on 2024 and design a competitive car though, then Button thinks Hamilton “will be ready” to fight Verstappen for the crown next season.

The Germans have a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull, but Button believes the Silver Arrows have the potential to bridge the gap.

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“I think next year there’s every possibility Mercedes would be quite a great team,” Button told On Track GP.

“They’re a little bit behind Red Bull at the moment so it’s tricky as the regulations don’t really change.

“But if anyone can challenge them, it’s definitely Mercedes. Lewis will be ready there to fight for the championship.”