Ted Kravitz finds ‘interesting’ Lewis Hamilton conclusion from Red Bull speculation

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen smiles and talks to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen talks to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz found it “interesting” that Lewis Hamilton backs himself against Max Verstappen in identical cars, adding Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc to the mix of “well-positioned” drivers.

A key talking point heading into the F1 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix involved Hamilton and Red Bull, after Red Bull principal Christian Horner claimed Hamilton had been in touch before signing a new Mercedes contract over a possible move to the team.

Different versions of what that entailed have since been thrown about, though Hamilton, who denied contacting Horner, did tell media including PlanetF1.com: “I’d be more than happy to race against Max in the same car, it would be wonderful, [but] I don’t think he wants me to be his team-mate”.

Ted Kravitz offers Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen open question

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Hamilton has now gone two seasons without a victory as Mercedes struggle to contend with the title-winning standard set by Verstappen and Red Bull, but as a seven-time World Champion, Hamilton, in Kravitz’s opinion, is right to back himself against Verstappen in equal machinery.

He also suggested that Aston Martin’s two-time World Champion Alonso, plus Ferrari racer Leclerc, could think along the same lines.

“What I did find interesting about it, and maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this, is that Hamilton believes that he can beat Max Verstappen in a Red Bull,” said Kravitz in his ‘Ted’s Podbook‘ piece.

“Which, I guess he has to back himself, he absolutely has to back himself.

“Is Hamilton the only person, maybe apart from Fernando Alonso and possibly Charles Leclerc, who feels and would be well-positioned to beat Max Verstappen in identical cars? Open question, one for you to discuss with your friends over the winter over Christmas dinner.

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“I would love, of course, we’d all love to see it, wouldn’t we? We would love to see Hamilton or Alonso or Charles Leclerc against Max Verstappen in equal cars in the two Red Bulls.

“That’s assuming that you’re absolutely sure that both the Red Bulls are completely equal, there’s no reason to suggest reasonably that they’re not equal.

“And so, it’s never going to happen is it? Because Christian Horner and Helmut Marko [Red Bull advisor] have said, ‘Look, we’re not going to have two number ones in a team. It doesn’t work’. But we can dream, can’t we? We can dream.

“So that story is largely pointless, in that it’s never going to happen, but instructive and interesting, I think, in that Hamilton, even in the autumn of his career, absolutely backs himself to beat Max Verstappen in equal cars.

“And there’s no reason obviously, being the most successful F1 driver of all time, that he shouldn’t think that and that that wouldn’t happen. But depending on who you think is just pure quicker, then you can have your own views on that. So I thought that was the interesting part of that story.”

Hamilton recently signed a new Mercedes contract, committing him through to the end of F1 2025.

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