Max Verstappen has countered claims Lewis Hamilton's experience of F1 title battles could be an advantage as the season reaches its climax.
Whilst Verstappen is in the first championship fight of his F1 career, Hamilton is going for a record-breaking eighth title and has rarely been out of the picture across his career.
Crossing the line to secure a title or a win is viewed as the most difficult aspect of any sport given the added pressures, but questioned on what is deemed to be an advantage for Hamilton, Verstappen was characteristically bullish in his response.
"No, I don’t think it makes a big difference because otherwise, it would have shown already throughout the season," said the Red Bull driver.
“Of course, as a driver you always keep learning, even when you’re 30, 35, 40.
"You learn through experience and not naturally you become quicker, but maybe you know or understand how to deal with certain situations or prepare yourself better.
“But these things are pretty normal.”
Verstappen then took what appeared to be a thinly-veiled swipe at Hamilton's first title assault, a campaign that saw the seven-time champion lose out by a single point and was derailed by finding the gravel in the Chinese GP pit lane as well as by infighting with team-mate Fernando Alonso.
“I think it is natural, of course, that when you are at this stage of your career you are better prepared than when you were in your first or second [fight, like] when Lewis was fighting for his first title," added Verstappen.
“I think it is just a natural progression and it is very normal.
“I also feel much better prepared and more experienced than when I just came into Formula 1."