Hamilton says Verstappen and Leclerc threaten route to 'all-time greatness'

Thursday, 06 december 2018, 09:50 , by Matthew Scott

Lewis Hamilton sees Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc as emerging threats to his ambitions of becoming "the all-time great" of Formula 1. Hamilton marched to a fifth world title in 2018, with only Michael Schumacher ahead of him on seven crowns.

Hamilton won 11 races this year to see off the threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for a second year in succession.

Verstappen recovered from a sloppy start to the year to push Hamilton hard in latter races, although Red Bull's 2019 challenge is something of an unknown quantity as they switch to Honda power units.

Leclerc joins Vettel at Ferrari next year on the back of an impressive rookie campaign at Sauber and Hamilton has pinpointed the young guns as the next challenge he has to fend off.

"I feel like I'm still not at my best," Hamilton said at a sponsor event. "I'm just on the way there, I've still got lots of work to do.

"We've just signed for another two years so '19 and '20 are going to be interesting. My goal is to make sure Ferrari don't win a championship within those two years – or Red Bull.

"We've got the Red Bulls who are really trying to come at us strongly, we've got young Max Verstappen who wants to steal a world championship. We've got now Charles Leclerc in Ferrari who's going to want to impress next year.

"And these guys are all much younger. I'm the third-oldest driver now in Formula 1, which is ridiculous because I'm only 33. But these guys, they're all in their young teens now.

"So how do I remain relevant, how do I remain fitter than all these guys, how do I remain mentally more focussed and more diligent than all these other guys? That's my super focus, to stay ahead of them.

"This next month I'm going to sit down and figure out where I can be better.

"I asked my team to send me an email from several different departments, asked them to be blunt.

"They don't even need to tell me who the email's from, just tell me the things [they] think I can improve on: If there's been a certain experience this year you felt that could be better or something I've said that's swayed the energy within the team.

"Because I'm looking to be the all-time great and that means winning in all areas."

MORE: GPFans' 2018 Driver Index top five
MORE: Hamilton 'would have won' the title with Ferrari in 2018
MORE: Verstappen: Leclerc and I are F1's new Hamilton and Vettel

Related news

Comments (19)

  • Algie Livingston
    Do you know how asinine some of you sound. By your logic, no one after Fangio should be considered great. So that would include in the no so great: Schumacher, Senna, Lauda, Prost. Would this even be a conversation if it was Vettel sitting at the top of the heap right now? Taking all of the tech into consideration, the cars are faster and the season longer. Meaning the drivers are under more physical and mental stress today. Last, if Hamilton had the racing sportsmanship of Schumacher, I am sure he would be lambasted more. Meanwhile making excuses for why Schumacher had to do what he had to do because boys will be boys. FOH!!!!
  • Talal H-m
    He is already one of them whether you like him or not. Circumstances are so different in the different eras you can never really say there is a single greatest without any obvious bias. At best you will have a very small group who are the elite few and considered one of the all time greats which he is. Im not a massive fan of his, but stats dont lie, and he is one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen. Fact. Him as a person... debate for another day.
  • Talal H-m
    He is already one of them whether you like him or not. Circumstances are so different in the different eras you can never really say there is a single greatest without any obvious bias. At best you will have a very small group who are the elite few and considered one of the all time greats which he is. Im not a massive fan of his, but stats dont lie, and he is one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen. Fact. Him as a person... debate for another day.
  • Chris Fitton
    I think he is entitled to make this claim. He will definitely be in the top echelon of great drivers however there are 2 that i dont think he can ever be 'greater' than no matter how many titles he has. Fangio and Senna will always be the greatest i feel. Is he in the top 10 of all time, Definatly. Top 5 very possible.
  • Eric Wookie
    ha's a bitch who's stuck that far up his own arse it would take a search party with dogs a week to find him ...& the sooner he f**ks off the better......please let your hate flow out below this post .................
  • Grant Broom
    Stop being such a prat & a sooki la la. When things don’t go your way you become unhinged just like Vettel. Although as you have had more success recently you haven’t thrown the car in the bin like he has
  • Steven Miller
    Stone cold truth is that Lewis is now in a position to make a statement like that, there's only one guy left ahead of him and he's already taken a Big Three record.
  • Jose Antonio Perez
    Vettel will win the Championship in 2019!! Michael Schumacher is and will be the greatest driver ever!
  • Michael Mondor
    Well then he should have been racing before the introduction of drivers aids , today it’s 70%car 30% driver
  • Marty Ross
    At this time in F1 history,he is the only driver who can claim this all things considered.
  • Jitu Sharma
    Bt first u need to learn to win the race alone.. Not with crapy team advantage and politics
  • Michael Hess
    I'm a Hamilton fan but overlooking Vettel is a mistake
  • Sauly Bishara
    The more we hate him the more likely he will become the man.
  • Amitabh Krishna
    Nope. He is what he is because of the stupid butler and wingman.
  • Rafa? D?u?ewski
    hahahaha NO! Newer. Michael Schumacher no1
  • Wendy Jenkins
    Dream on lulu. ...
  • Lars Bråten
    Fear of the unknown.

Write a comment