2022 has certainly not seen a title fight reminiscent of Max Verstappen’s titanic battle with Lewis Hamilton last season, with his mediocre duel with Charles Leclerc this year having been undeniably underwhelming.
Verstappen’s complete domination has made for an uneventful season, one which has seen the Dutchman break the record for most wins in a single season.
With 14 wins from 20 races to his name, 2022 has certainly been Verstappen’s year, with some even questioning if we’ve entered an era of the Dutchman.
According to ex-F1 driver Anthony Davidson, Hamilton is the “only person” that can take the fight to Verstappen should Mercedes be up to the challenge, with the seven-time World Champion “definitely still good enough”.
“The only person I can see that can mount a serious challenge is Lewis Hamilton,” the 43-year-old told Sky Sports News.
“[There’s] a handful of names who in my opinion have been the greatest of all time and they only come along once in a while.
“Then it’s great to see that next one come along and they set the benchmark and as one athlete becomes older, the next one comes along.
“But it’s never a given and I don’t know who the next Max Verstappen will be that comes along one day to bring the fight to him.
“But Lewis at the moment, he’s definitely still good enough without question and he’s the only one that can take this fight to Max.
“The problem is, as an older athlete, you start to lose a bit of performance. That hasn’t happened yet with Lewis, but at some point it’s inevitable and that’s the advantage Max has.”
Should Verstappen dominate next year in the same fashion as this year, then it could represent the period of time when the previous ‘top dog’ of the sport (Hamilton) is succeeded.
Davidson labelled this as a “generational thing”, with Hamilton’s reign set to end at some point.
“It’s a generational thing. I’ve seen this many times in the past in Formula 1,” he said.
“I’ve seen the likes of Ayrton Senna come along, who replaced Alain Prost in that bid to see who was the best driver.
“Then we saw Michael Schumacher come along. He supersedes Senna and Senna got older and Lewis [Hamilton] came along, supersedes Schumacher and now Verstappen comes along.
“It’s not really a fair fight in many ways because Verstappen is 25 years old, almost 10 years younger than Lewis.
“That’s a generational thing. It’s cyclical, and it’s great to see a new talent come along because it doesn’t happen very often.”