Max Verstappen is eagerly awaiting the day F1’s youngsters come to the fore, saying it would be “too boring” if Lewis Hamilton continued winning.
Hamilton will arrive in Melbourne next month looking to retain his World title for a fourth successive season.
If the Brit succeeds, he will match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World titles.
But while Verstappen acknowledges that Hamilton is a “very, very good”, he says the Mercedes driver’s success is largely down to his Mercedes cars.
“Hamilton, [Sebastian] Vettel and [Charles] Leclerc are all three great drivers,” he told Auto Zeitung.
“But all three are very different, everyone has their own style.
“Lewis is very, very good. He is one of the best drivers in Formula 1 ever. I respect him as a very strong racer.
“But as a driver you depend a lot on your car.
“If Fernando Alonso had been in this Mercedes, he would have won.
“It is also part of being with a team that ultimately develops this dominance.”
There is a lot of talk at the moment about Hamilton’s future and where he will be in 2021.
While some reports suggest he could swap to Ferrari, others claim he will continue with Mercedes for at least another two years.
Verstappen reckons Mercedes’ form this season will determine what the six-time World Champion does next.
“Well, Lewis is getting older, he’s 35 now. Lewis won’t keep going forever.
“At some point he will stop. Ultimately, it depends on the team, not Lewis.
“If Mercedes continues to build good cars with which it can become a champion, why should he stop?”
The Dutchman was also asked about his rivalry with Leclerc, who ignited on the F1 stage last season.
The duo raced wheel-to-wheel for the Austrian GP, with Verstappen giving Leclerc a little shove off the track to take the lead and the win.
Leclerc gave Verstappen a whack of his own later in the season at the British GP.
“No bigger than with other drivers,” Verstappen said of the rivalry.
“Of course I grew up with him in karting and drove against him much longer than against other competitors.
“He is a great driver, a huge talent and it is a very big chance for him to start for Ferrari. I expect that we will duel over many years.
“He is also very young. The many young, strong drivers like Lando Norris, George Russell or Alexander Albon are good for our sport. Hopefully we will soon take the lead in grand prix sport.
“Otherwise it will be too boring if Lewis Hamilton always wins.”