Lewis Hamilton says he’s relishing the prospect of future track battles with “future F1 world champion” Max Verstappen who he sees as the biggest emerging star in the sport.

The four-time Formula 1 world champion scrapped with Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel during the opening lap of the Mexican Grand Prix, only for Hamilton and Vettel to drop back with damage, which enabled the Red Bull driver to escape up the road to clinch victory.

Hamilton has heaped praise on Verstappen and wants to see him and Red Bull in the F1 world championship fight for 2018 against Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I think Max is an exceptional driver,” Hamilton said. “He drove fantastically and to see his race craft at the start of the race was awesome.

“I was looking forward to having a battle with him and it is great to see Red Bull up there again and Christian came across to congratulate us, which is really welcomed.

“I hope they have a better engine next year and they are more in the fight. I think it would be great for the sport. You have a potential world champion in Max and he is only going to get stronger with age because he is a lot or raw talent."

While crediting Verstappen's abilities, Hamilton feels the 20-year-old still needs to harness his talents to become a consistent challenger which is something that is providing the reigning F1 world champion with added motivation.

“He has a long way to go but these wins are only adding to his great potential and I am looking forward to battling with that. Going down that straight three-abreast with two of the greatest drivers I have come across was... oh my god. I hope we have that again.”


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