Lewis Hamilton has praised Max Verstappen for his second consecutive podium at the British Grand Prix, describing the youngster as an increasing 'force to be reckoned with'.
The 18 year-old, who only joined Red Bull Racing ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, has quickly established himself as a consistent front runner, with podiums in Austria and Great Britain complementing his sensational victory in Barcelona.
Indeed, with Verstappen out-scoring all-but-Hamilton since the Spanish event, the Dutchman is now on the cusp of the fight for third in the overall standings heading into the second-half of the season, while his performances in the improving Red Bull have also caught the eye of title contender Hamilton.
“Max drove a fantastic race and is continuing to show he is a force to be reckoned with,” the Mercedes driver said.
“We knew Red Bull would be fast at Silverstone. In practice we don't know what fuel loads people are on and also if everyone is showing their hand. But I would say definitely today, I was never under threat from either of the guys behind and pace wise, what you will see, is those laps I don't need to do more.
However, despite the relatively close margin to the Nico Rosberg – who was later penalised – and Verstappen on the road, Hamilton feels Mercedes has the comfortable measure of the former title-winning team, adding he was preserving his engine in the closing stages of the Silverstone race.
“I already had a gap of six seconds, so there is no need to do more or less. And so every time they posted a time, I would hear about it and I would turn it up a little bit or turn it down. If I ever needed to turn it up, I had more to turn up in terms of pace.
“Going into the race, I think we had half a second or so to Red Bull. Whether or not it was half a second [I don't know], but we definitely had the pace against them.”