Verstappen inflicted a home defeat on Charles Leclerc and Ferrari by charging to his 11th victory in 15 races at the Italian Grand Prix to edge ever closer to clinching his second world title. 

The Dutchman is on a run of five consecutive victories but, remarkably, only one of those has come from pole position. Verstappen won from 10th in Hungary, 14th in Belgium, and his latest win at Monza - the 31st of his career - came from seventh after being hit with a grid penalty for using too many engine parts. 

Daniel Ricciardo - WHERE NEXT? | F1 2022

Hamilton is enduring his longest streak without a victory amid Red Bull’s domination and is at risk of losing his record of being the only F1 driver in history to have won a race in each season they have competed. 

Asked whether he thinks a win could be possible at the next race in Singapore, Hamilton said: “We have to be realistic. That Red Bull is almost unbeatable. 

“It’s going to take some real doing to beat that car. Performance-wise they are fully ahead of everyone. 

“We haven’t caught them and we don’t have upgrades coming to overtake them, so it’s going to take some fortune going our way. 

“Not impossible, because we could potentially have beaten them in Zandvoort, maybe could have beaten them in Budapest. 

“But he [Verstappen] has generally chilled at the front, so you never know the true pace.” 

Lewis Hamilton: Battling ‘way more fun than starting first’ 

The seven-time world champion turned in a strong recovery drive to finish fifth at Monza, having started from 19th due to enforced power unit changes following damage picked up in his first-lap collision with Fernando Alonso at Spa. 

Hamilton said he found fighting his way through the pack more enjoyable than simply starting from the front, in what appeared to be a dig towards his 2021 title rival Verstappen. 

“[It’s] a thousand times more enjoyable, battling with people,” he said. “I remember my first go-kart was like an old kart, we always had to start at the back, old tyres, that’s what I’ve always enjoyed doing. 

“So today, having those battles, is way more fun than starting first. It’s a different chapter but I must prefer battles.”

He added: “When you win it’s something completely different. I love the idea of moving forwards. I felt like I climbed up a ladder. Progress is a good feeling.” 

A crucial moment on Hamilton’s rise to fifth came when he pulled off a superb double overtake on McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly on the run to Curva Grande. 

“This was a key move,” Hamilton explained. “If I hadn’t pulled that off then I would have been two places back. It’s about timing. You don’t always get it right. 

“I saw Lando coming out and I was like ‘this is the one moment we have the chance’. Unfortunately for him he was being channelled by someone else around the outside, so I cut across. It felt great.”