Max Verstappen insists he will “definitely” be ready for a title charge once he has a car that is capable of fighting for the crown.
The Dutchman is entering his fifth season in Formula 1 but it is one that is shrouded in uncertainty.
The team has been bigging up Honda’s power unit, adamant it was the most-improved engine in 2018.
“I think I can because I’ve done four seasons now, and Lewis, for example, was fighting for a championship in his first season,” he said.
“Are you ready for it? You’re not sure.
“Was he? Maybe yes, maybe not.
“But once you have that car underneath you, you are definitely going for it.
“I think it’s never 100 percent clear if somebody’s ready or not.
“As soon as you have that car you’ve just got to drive it as fast as you can and if it’s the fastest car in the grid you are normally winning races or you are second.”
“Max has been driving very well throughout the year and has shown his consistency and has been up here many, many times with us,” said Hamilton.
“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.”
Vettel added: “He’s got all the ingredients. I think there’s a couple of guys out there who have these qualities and Max is certainly one of them. Yeah, I think we’ve seen that.”