F1: Verstappen wants company in fight against Hamilton

F1: Max Verstappen has asked the F1’s other up-and-coming drivers to join him in his contest against Lewis Hamilton.

In doing so, Verstappen became the first man since Nico Rosberg in 2016 to challenge and defeat the seven-time former World Champion, snatching his title from him, albeit in contentious circumstances resulting from FIA decisions near the end of the 2021 season.

Barring a surprise retirement from Lewis, who has remained silent about the dramatic finale to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2022 drivers’ title will most likely be decided by the same two.

The Dutchman would be fine with that situation, but the Red Bull driver also wants to see those who are chasing him down the F1 ladder start stepping up and demonstrating their worth.

The revised regulations for 2022 give drivers like Lando Norris of McLaren and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz a chance to compete in their teams can build a car capable of winning numerous races.

“Lewis is 36 now, so maybe there is a few more years for him, hopefully, a few more years for me after that,” said Verstappen on the BBC Chequered Flag podcast’s review of the season.

“I hope, of course, he will stay in the sport a bit longer and we can have more of these battles.

“But I also hope other young guys – because hopefully with the new rules more teams will be more competitive – that we all have that fight against him as well. He’s a seven-time World Champion and it has been a pleasure to race against him this year especially.”

Asked if Mercedes would be like a ‘wounded animal’, Verstappen responded: “A wounded bull is still very strong! But luckily, I’m not wounded.

“I don’t work like that, because then you have the wrong attitude in general. If that will make you work harder, then you’re not working hard enough before that. We, as a team, I think are always working hard – it doesn’t matter if you lose or win.

“I don’t know how they (Mercedes) work. At least I know from my experience that if I lose, it would not make me work harder because I work the same already, if I am winning or not winning.”