Lewis Hamilton's battle with Max Verstappen for this year's Formula 1 title threatens to be "a golden year" for the sport, according to Ross Brawn.
Mercedes driver Hamilton and Red Bull rival Verstappen have so far claimed a win apiece after the first two grands prix in Bahrain and Imola, going wheel-to-wheel in both races.
While Hamilton was fortunate to escape with finishing runner-up to Verstappen in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, he continues to lead the championship by a single point by virtue of his fastest lap at Imola.
Given what has unfolded between the pair so far, F1's managing director motorsports Brawn believes the campaign ahead could prove to be one of the best of all time.
"This is going to be a tough championship fight, which is fantastic for Formula 1," said Brawn via his regular post-race column.
"In Hamilton and Verstappen, you have two guys at very different stages of their careers, battling it out with cars that are very well matched.
"It has all the hallmarks of a titanic battle, not least because I don’t think teams will be able to throw a lot of resources at this year’s car with the 2022 car in the works.
"There is so much focus on 2022, as the regulations are changing so dramatically, that I think what we see now is what we will get all season. This could be a golden year."
Brawn has pointed to the fact there were moments in the race at Imola that could have ended in a different story for either driver but for their recovery skills.
Hamilton, in particular, was aided by a touch of good fortune with the red flag soon after he had crunched his front wing into a barrier.
"The race was a bit hairy for Verstappen at times and he had a few moments, such as when he nearly lost the car ahead of the restart," added Brawn. "However, he drove assuredly, stamped his mark and thoroughly deserved the victory.
"The fight into the first corner at the start, between him and Hamilton, was significant and set the tone for the race.
"I believe it was Max’s corner. He had the line, he had the place on the track. Lewis in retrospect may wish he backed out of it, especially considering the conditions.
"He would have been mindful of Sergio Perez as well, who was just behind, in what was a Red Bull pincer movement of sorts, and he was clearly trying to look for space where neither could get to him.
"For Hamilton, it was one of those days that could count for a lot in a tight championship. He made a rare mistake but recovered well and is still leading the title race."
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