Lewis Hamilton fires ominous warning to Max Verstappen and hits back at Helmut Marko
Last year, Hamilton looked set to surpass the seven titles Michael Schumacher won but missed out on achieving the feat after a chaotic end to the season-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Max Verstappen ultimately tasted glory.
Hamilton went to ground following his disappointment in the desert but returned to the track in February as preparations for the new season got underway during testing in Barcelona. And he was in the drivers’ seat once again earlier this month as teams tested their cars in Bahrain.
F1 cars have been upgraded over the winter after a whole host of regulation changes were introduced. And Hamilton has been doing all he can to get to grips with his new vehicle. The veteran is in the autumn of his career, though, and surely doesn’t have many years left at the top of F1.
But he has fired an ominous warning to Verstappen and his other rivals after being asked whether the improvements he’d made to his pre-season preparations made him a more dangerous driver. “I would say so,” came Hamilton’s response.
Last week, Marko questioned whether Hamilton could maintain his place among the F1 elite. “I can’t imagine that he can continue to drive at this high level for much longer,” said the 78-year-old. “He has reached his peak level now, but at some point his age will come into play.”
But Hamilton has rejected Marko’s comments and insists his age is no barrier to success. “Naturally your body does age, you do fatigue as you get older – it is a slower recovery,” Hamilton said. “But I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m too down in the slope – I still feel like I’m relatively at the top.
“I feel I am more efficient in how I train. I’m much more in tune with my body in terms of knowing when I can push and when I can’t push, when I am recovered and when I am not, how I am feeding my body in terms of fueling it. I am way more into that than ever before, sleep, all these sorts of things.
“I’ve got all the experience over the years – I’ve got the great rapport of my team. We’ve been together 10 years so I think we probably have the strongest partnership I would say.”