Lewis Hamilton fired ominous Max Verstappen warning ahead of new season

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Max Verstappen has been backed to be even better in 2022 after withstanding enormous pressure to win his maiden F1 world title this year. He and Lewis Hamilton were locked in a tight fight at the top for much of the season, but the Dutchman was able to snatch victory in the end despite a late resurgence from the Briton.

Ever since his F1 debut as a teenager, Verstappen has always shown that he has enormous talent – that’s why Red Bull put so much faith in him.

What he never had was a car capable of competing with the Mercedes over the course of a season.

When he was finally given that in 2021, he did not shy away from the challenge and kept pace with Hamilton all the way through an incident-packed season.

After impressive wins in the US and Mexico, it looked as though he had one hand firmly on the trophy.

But Hamilton did what champions do, and won the next three races to tie things up heading into the Abu Dhabi finale.

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While Verstappen’s final lap victory was mostly down to an extraordinary slice of luck in controversial circumstances, he showed impressive nerve and determination to get over the line.

And now he has had the experience of winning the championship, one former F1 driver believes he will be even better equipped for more title challenges in the future.

Alain Prost knows a thing or two about winning multiple F1 titles, having been world champion on four occasions.

He has tipped Verstappen to go on to achieve great things in the sport from here.

“He had a perfect season,” the French former racer told Motorsport.com.

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“I remember when he started in F1, very often we would say: ‘He has the speed, he has everything, but he maybe does a little too much and makes mistakes because of that’.

“It is normal when you’re young. Now he’s only getting better, and this year he hasn’t made a lot of mistakes. Maybe the one in qualifying in Jeddah, but he was attacking so much, it can happen. He was ready to reach the top.

“With a world title in your pocket, you drive and think differently. As soon as you win one, the pressure is less. He will know even better when to attack and when to take less risks, and in the end he will be a better driver.”

Prost went on to express his belief that 2021 as a whole was the most entertaining season in F1 history, and hailed the role the two title race protagonists played in that.

“The spectacle, the sport, the human aspect, the popularity of F1 and the fact that young people are starting to follow it. So yes, it is definitely the best season in history,” the Frenchman added.

“Both deserved to be world champion and gave us an incredible show this year. At the end of the day it’s good for Formula 1 and it’s good for Max, I’m very happy for him.

“For Lewis it’s a bit sad, for sure, especially as it’s been the best season in Formula 1 thanks to Max. This year you can’t choose between Max and Lewis, you have to judge them both. They are equal.

“You can comment on everything, talk about Silverstone for example, but at the end of the day they both deserved this world title.”

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