Max Verstappen will attempt to seal a 10th consecutive Grand Prix win at Monza this weekend as he wraps up his third drivers’ title; Watch the Italian GP live on Sky Sports F1 all weekend – qualifying on Saturday at 3pm and the race on Sunday at 2pm
12:33, UK, Friday 01 September 2023
Lewis Hamilton says he is „less impressed” by Max Verstappen than Formula 1’s previous world champions and has questioned the pedigree of the Dutchman’s team-mates.
Having built up a 138-point world championship lead, Verstappen will attempt to record a 10th consecutive Grand Prix win at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver has received widespread praise from across the paddock for his performance, but Hamilton, who controversially denied Verstappen a record eighth world championship in the 2021 title race, appears to have been most impressed by the team’s performance as a whole.
„We’ve seen it in history,” Hamilton said in an exclusive interview Ski Italy Thursday at Monza.
“I was no more impressed than Michael was [Schumacher] Sebastian took the lead [Vettel] While in the lead, Km [Raikkonen] Fernando was driving [Alonso] Won – the same.
„I mean, I think the team as a whole is a strong one – they’re firing on all cylinders right now.
„The car is incredible, the driver is doing a fantastic job – very consistent, the pit crew is doing a great job, the mechanics are doing a good job, the strategy is doing a good job – it’s perfect, you can’t fault them.”
’Max has never competed against anyone like my teammates’
Verstappen’s recent winning run has been particularly impressive compared to the performances of his teammate Sergio Perez, who has finished on the podium just four times during the Netherlands’ nine race wins.
Perez shared two wins apiece with Verstappen in the first four races of the season, but was unable to maintain the pace after that, suggesting the RB19’s in-season upgrades required him to adjust his driving style.
The gap between the Red Bull drivers has been eye-popping at times, most notably when Verstappen outscored Perez by 1.2 seconds at last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, with even Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitting he couldn’t „understand” the gap.
Perez is not the first driver to struggle to fit Verstappen at Red Bull following the departure of Daniel Ricciardo in 2018, with Pierre Gasly and Alex Alban replaced after relatively short spells at the team.
Hamilton says he has not been given the same credit as former team-mate Valtteri Bottas for consistently outperforming by large margins, and says Verstappen’s dominance was „blown away even more”.
„It’s really interesting because I was running this morning and I was thinking about this,” Hamilton said.
„The story in the media… you know when I was half a second, six tenths ahead of Valtteri, six tenths ahead of Max Perez they didn’t say like they say – it was quite a blast. And
„In my personal opinion, Valtteri, and indeed all my teammates, are stronger than Max’s teammates.
„Jensen” [Button]Fernando [Alonso]George [Russell]Valtteri… Nico [Rosberg] – I had a lot.
„They’re all very consistent, and Max isn’t competing against anyone like that.”
Brundle: Hamilton not going to 'pick up’ Verstappen
Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle said he was „surprised” by how „harsh” Hamilton’s comments were about Verstappen.
„That was Lewis’s opinion and he put it out very firmly,” Brundle said.
“He’s not going to give Max an ounce of oxygen or anything.
„It was amazing how hard he was out there. Yes, of course, Lewis had some strong team-mates, but I wouldn’t write off the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez that Max had with him. They are world-class racing drivers.
„But Louis doesn’t want to give anything away, does he.”
Live Italian GP schedule from Sky Sports F1
Saturday 2 September
8.20 am: F3 Sprint Race
11.15am: Italian GP practice three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint Race
2.10pm: Italian GP Qualifying Build-up
3pm: Italian GP qualifying
4.45 pm: Dead qualification notebook
Sunday, September 3
7.10am: F3 feature race
8.15am: F2 feature race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Italian GP build-up
2pm: The Italian Grand Prix
4pm: Checked flag: Italian GB reaction
5pm: Dead Notebook
Next to Formula 1 is Monza, the Temple of Speed, the last European race of the season. All sessions of the Italian GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday. Stream F1 on Sky Sports. You can cancel anytime
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”