Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he finds the latest bunch of talented young drivers breaking through into the sport “refreshing”.

After just a single season in F1, Charles Leclerc was promoted to become Ferrari’s youngest driver in over half a century, while Max Verstappen finds himself heading Red Bull’s 2019 charge.

The highly rated trio of George Russell, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon, who all made up the top three spots in the 2018 Formula 2 Championship, have already impressed just four races into the start of their respective F1 careers at Williams, McLaren and Toro Rosso.

“I’m game for new drivers coming through,” Hamilton said.

“They come through with new techniques, new driving styles, new aggression so it definitely is refreshing and it’s great to see.

“Each year I just focus on trying to improve myself as a driver and welcome the new guys that come through. I don’t look at any of them and think that they looked at me and think they wanted to beat me.”

Hamilton, who sits just a point behind Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the 2019 world championship standings, acknowledges he will need to remain at the top of his game to stay ahead of the latest generation of drivers in the coming years.

“I’ve heard some of them talk about other drivers like [Aryton] Senna and Michael [Schumacher],” he added.

“Obviously I’ve been where they are and I can empathise with the experience they’re going through and the challenges that they all face in their own way in the races throughout the year and the following years.

“I’ve got my work cut out to try and stay ahead of them, which gets harder and harder every year. If anyone could do it, I guess then it wouldn’t be a special job.”