Hamilton wary of Verstappen threat

06 November 2017 22:14:09 GMTPlus11

Lewis Hamilton claims he will have to be even better to claim a fifth Formula 1 title in 2018 with Max Verstappen becoming a big threat to him.

The Mercedes driver sealed his fourth drivers championship crown at the recent Mexican Grand Prix and immediately set his sights on retaining the title next year.

However, while the 32-year-old expects Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel to again run him close, Hamilton also singled out Red Bull's young driver Verstappen as another challenge he will have to overcome.

I've got Max sitting there waiting to take it. I've got to raise the game another level in order to stay ahead of him and that motivates me. There's my motivation already for next year.

Lewis Hamilton

The 20-year-old is enjoying a strong end to the 2017 campaign with two wins in that last four races in Malaysia and Mexico respectively, while he also secured second place behind Hamilton in Japan.

Verstappen had been badly affected by reliability issues earlier in the season and Hamilton expects him to hot on his heels in the future.

"I want to be better next year," Hamilton said. "The challenge is going to be even bigger from Ferrari and Red Bull next year. Formula One doesn't sleep. It doesn't stand still. There is always someone there waiting to take my position.

"I've got Max sitting there waiting to take it. I've got to raise the game another level in order to stay ahead of him and that motivates me. There's my motivation already for next year."

He added: "Max is an exceptional driver. He drove fantastically and to see his racecraft at the start of the race was awesome. I was looking forward to having a battle with him and it is great to see Red Bull up there again.

"I hope they have a better engine next year and they are more in the fight. I think it would be great for the sport. You have a potential world champion in Max and he is only going to get stronger with age because he has a lot of raw talent."

Hamilton is 1.002 to win the F1 drivers championship, while Verstappen is available at 2001.00 and Vettel is priced at 51.00.

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