“Hamilton is ‘halfway to the level’ of Verstappen”

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been compared by Red Bull bosses, who insist their driver is far superior.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard, France,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Verstappen has won back-to-back F1 championships and - despite winning in the wake of the 2021 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the F1 cost cap issue - is the grid’s outstanding performer.

But Hamilton still holds the joint-record for most titles (seven) and plans to charge back into contention in 2023.

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Helmut Marko, the Red Bull consultant, said via Marca: "There are only two drivers in Formula 1 who are halfway to the level of Verstappen, they are Charles Leclerc and Hamilton.

"Max drives with more confidence than ever, with more overview, at the same time becoming a tyre expert. 

“For example, he rides longer on a soft tyre than rivals with a harder compound, I think for him there is no limit.

“He gets in the car and is so confident from the first free practice session, from the first lap that you can see that when it's wet, it's two seconds faster than the rest in the first laps, everyone has to get closer first."

- Parc ferme, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
- Parc ferme, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 and Max…

Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal, has compared Verstappen to Sebastian Vettel, who won four titles with the team but has now retired. 

"They share the same hunger to win," Horner said.

"But they're two completely different people. Max is a very natural and instinctive driver. Sebastian thought a lot about his driving. I think Max is less 'absorbed' by the details than Sebastian.

“I never look too far, but for me, Max is way above the rest in Formula 1. I think he can achieve much more if we give him a car that matches his talents.”

Hamilton was restricted to sixth in the F1 standings in 2022, his worst-ever result, and didn’t win a single race all season for the first time in his career.

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