Multiple world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel believe Max Verstappen is ready to challenge for Formula 1 titles, providing Red Bull and Honda can strike a successful partnership.

Verstappen endured mistake-ridden start to 2018 but impressively recovered to outscore every driver except Hamilton in the second half of the year. The 21-year-old secured a career-best finish of fourth in F1, having won two races and recorded 11 podiums in total.

Red Bull has opted to end its long-term association with Renault engines in favour of a switch to Honda power from 2019, with the Milton Keynes outfit confident the Japanese manufacturer can deliver a power unit capable of fighting for world championships.

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"Max has been driving very well throughout the year and has shown his consistency and has been up here many, many times with us," Hamilton said.

"So, if his team does the job and delivers a platform with which he can compete even closer with us, then of course he'll be in the fight."

Four-time world champion Vettel, who won all of his titles with Red Bull, added he believes Verstappen has “got all the ingredients” required.

"There's a couple of guys out there who have these qualities and Max is certainly one of them,” he explained.

"I also remember from my time, it's important to have a competitive package throughout the season and Red Bull are certainly very, very strong.

"I think they put more performance to their car than any other team across the year, so obviously that allowed them to be very competitive.

"Max and Daniel [Ricciardo] have proven that they can be very, very quick and very consistent so I'm sure [we will see] more of him."

Verstappen ended 2018 just two points shy of third-place man Kimi Raikkonen and would have beaten the Ferrari driver in the standings had he not lost the lead in Brazil following a clash with backmarker Esteban Ocon.

Asked if he felt ready for a title push, Verstappen replied: "I always find that a really difficult question, because you're so dependent on the package in Formula 1.

"When I was watching back in the day, it seemed like Lewis was ready for the title in his first year [2007].

"You can always do things better but I think that's every year. Even if you win the title, there are always things which you can do better.

"So, even if we have a winning package, there will be weekends where you make a mistake, or it can be a better weekend overall.

"Hopefully first we'll have that package."



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