A seventh World title awaits Lewis Hamilton this season but Bernie Ecclestone feels there is “someone” on today’s grid who will beat him later and that’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton will line up on the first grid of the 2020 season, whenever that may be, as the favourite to take the Drivers’ Championship title.
The Mercedes driver is chasing his seventh title, his sixth with Mercedes and his fourth in a row.
Hamilton, though, may have to settle for equalling Michael Schumacher’s record but never beating it as former F1 supremo Ecclestone believes F1 already has the driver who will end his reign on the grid.
“He is very motivated to win his seventh world title,” the Brit told Dutch outlet NOS, “but there is someone who can and will beat him later.
“And that is Max Verstappen.”
Verstappen, though, won’t be the only driver taking the fight to Hamilton in the coming months or even years.
Ecclestone predicts Charles Leclerc will also be up there, despite saying a few days ago that he reckons the Monégasque driver has already peaked.
Predicting that “great battles are coming,” Ecclestone added “between Hamilton and the young guard Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“That is what the sport needs.
“Max learned a lot. Five years ago he always went over the limit.
“He is calmer now, he has a lot more experience.
“He is now on the limit. That is really a big difference.”
Ecclestone isn’t the only person foreseeing a great future for Verstappen.
His Red Bull team boss recently told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I think Max Verstappen is the most exciting and spectacular driver in Formula 1 today.
“He and Leclerc are the future of F1, but with Lewis Hamilton still in business, I expect to see some spectacular duels between the three of them.”