2019-08-03 19:22:57 UTC
Hamilton sees 'opportunity' in potential Verstappen team-up
03 August 2019 at 10:00
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton believes it could be
beneficial "in some ways" to have Max Verstappen join Mercedes, as it
would allow him to prove he can take on Verstappen in equal machinery.
Verstappen, who has won seven races since joining Red Bull’s main F1
team in 2016, has an existing deal with the energy drinks giant that
runs through 2020.
However, it is understood there are performance clauses that could allow
for the contract to be terminated early, which has led to speculation
that Verstappen is an outside contender to replace Valtteri Bottas at
Mercedes when the Finn’s current deal runs out at the end of the season.
And while Hamilton has made it clear that he would be glad to see Bottas
retain the seat, having enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the Finn
since Bottas' arrival in 2017, the reigning champion said he would not
be averse to partnering Verstappen.
“I’d honestly have no problem with it. As I said before, I like working
with Valtteri and I don’t know how that [Hamilton/Verstappen] dynamic
would work for the team,” Hamilton said when asked about the possibility
ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I’m not saying it would or would not - I see positives and potential
negatives. Obviously there are always positives and negatives to people
that you’re working with, but I have no particular opinion towards it.
“In some ways it works out for me. At the moment I see stories that it’s
because we have different cars and that’s the only way [I beat him] but
this gives me the opportunity to show you that’s not the case.”
Verstappen’s stellar performances in 2019 have left him positioned as
F1’s in-form driver, but when asked about claims that he was now
stronger than Hamilton, the Dutchman said: “I don’t say any of those
things. And I also don’t care. What is the most important for me is that
I perform on track.”
The Red Bull man is now 63 points behind Hamilton following his second
win of the season in Germany, but has reiterated his belief that the
victory hasn’t changed the outlook of the title fight.