Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s top 3 rivals on the current grid have finally been revealed. The four-time F1 champion identified McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as the danger men.
He spoke of the situation if Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull all produced cars with similar levels of competitiveness. Hamilton said, “We’re the four strongest drivers. I really hope we are all in the fight next year. It would be friggin’ amazing.”
He admitted that he enjoyed wheel-to-wheel battles with all three drivers at various points in 2017. According to him, it helped build a portfolio of knowledge on how to handle each of them.
He said, “You look at them all slightly differently. They all have different characteristics. Sebastian, for example, from this year, you could say: ‘Give more space’ – not in a negative way. Max takes a lot of risks. Also, you have to give [him] more space, but he is more inexperienced than the other guys. Fernando – toughest driver there is, so you have to keep that utmost respect for each other, but you’ve really got to play your cards right to utilise the racecraft. His racecraft is mighty, but Max’s racecraft is very impressive [too].”
Lewis even suggested that Verstappen could potentially be an even bigger threat with experience. He said, “He’s doing wonderful things, but he is going to grow so much over the next 10 years. I don’t think it will a problem, it’ll just be freaking tough [to beat him]. Wouldn’t that be a fight? Even I’d pay to see that.”
Alonso, Vettel and Verstappen may be Hamilton’s top 3 rivals, but one should never discount their teammates. Namely, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Stoffel Vandoorne. If both teammates from all 4 teams can get in on the action, it will make for a fascinating 2018 championship fight.