Hamilton: ‘It’s not easy to beat up-and-coming champ Max Verstappen’

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After winning the Eifel Grand Prix ahead of second-placed Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton said it’s going to be a close battle between Red Bull and Mercedes for the rest of the season.

After winning the race and equalling Michael Schumacher’s most career wins record, Hamilton praised Verstappen to Sky Sports F1 cameras.

“He’s such a great talent, he’s so fast and consistent,” said the Briton.

“So it’s not easy to beat this young up-and-coming champ.”

Hamilton went on to say Red Bull is going to pose a bigger threat to Mercedes as the season progresses.

“You saw they had the fastest lap at the end [at the Nurburgring], and I pushed as hard as I could to get the fastest lap.

“So they’ve got a great car and I think they are continuously improving. So I think it’s going to be this close between us, particularly for the rest of the season.

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“There’s going to be tracks that might favour them, maybe, and then going into next year it is a similar car to what we have so I think you’re going to see the closest racing probably between us two and our team in the next 12 months.”

Despite scoring 91 career victories and equalling Schumacher’s record, Hamilton admits winning races doesn’t get any easier.

“What’s crazy is that every weekend, 91 wins, it never gets any easier. I can tell you that. If anything, it’s almost like it’s getting harder.

“I remember my first one in Montreal [in 2007], so young and just didn’t have all the knowledge that I have now.  But now it’s physically demanding in a different way and mentally demanding in a different way.

“Just as hard, if not harder,” concluded the six-time champion.

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