Max Verstappen has insisted Lewis Hamilton has to "do what he feels is right" after his rival confirmed talks have started with Mercedes over extending his F1 career into his 40s.
The duo fought ferociously last season in a titanic championship battle that went Verstappen's way after a controversial finale in Abu Dhabi, heightened by lasting tensions from a number of flashpoints throughout the campaign.
Hamilton will be 38 years old when the new season begins next year but has not lost motivation despite a difficult season with Mercedes, as the two parties now pick through the bones of a multi-year deal for the Briton.
Asked for his thoughts on Hamilton's desire to continue, Red Bull driver Verstappen replied: “He has to do what he feels is right and as long as he wants to race, he should do it.
"We have had great battles and I’m sure that in the coming years, all of the teams will get a bit closer anyway so it will be interesting to see who is up there to fight.”
Verstappen dismisses Hamilton battle hole
During Verstappen's first title-winning campaign, the Dutchman and Hamilton regularly found themselves wheel to wheel and often coming to blows in combat.
But asked if he missed the battles with Hamilton, Verstappen insisted: “I have had different kinds of battles anyway.
"As I said before, every driver is different in battling and when you always have to go to the limit and really fight for the position, it is always very nice.”