'Sign of weakness': Lewis Hamilton slaps down F1 rival

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Lewis Hamilton isn’t a noted trash talker - he himself says he prefers to do his talking on the racetrack.

But the six-time Formula One world champion has broken from his usual stance to give one of his biggest rivals a verbal smackdown.

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Red Bull Racing young gun Max Verstappen, no stranger to speaking his mind, said earlier this month that while Hamilton is a very good driver ‘he is not God’.

As Mercedes launched their 2020 car ahead of official testing in Spain later this month, Hamilton couldn’t help but bite back at his younger rival.

“I find it funny seeing that,” Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton has taken a rare potshot at rival driver Max Verstappen, insisting the Dutchman's sledges are 'a sign of weakness'. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“I have just always known to do my talking on the track.

“I tend to see that as a sign of weakness.”

Hamilton leading F1 grid stacked with young talent

The 35-year-old Hamilton still leads an F1 grid that has increasingly seen the age of it’s fiercest competitors drop in recent years.

Verstappen and Ferrari ace Charles LeClerc, both widely tipped to be Mercedes’ two biggest challengers in 2020, are both aged just 22 years old.

They too, face stiff competition from McLaren’s Lando Norris and fellow Red Bull star Alexander Albon.

Despite the fierce competition, Hamilton said he had full faith in the Mercedes team that has won the last six constructor’s and driver’s championships.

“This is my eighth year with this team and this year's challenge is super exciting,” Hamilton said.

“I have no doubt every single team member will try to raise the bar within themselves and I'll be trying to do the same.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the prospect of Hamilton facing off against the next generation of F1 superstars was a tantalising one, with the season opening Australian GP just over a month away.

“I perceive that he feels that he is at the peak of his abilities,” Wolff said of Hamilton.

“But he also needs constant improvement and development in order to stay on top.

“The most important factor is that he loves the challenge. He loves the challenge of trying to beat the next generation of potential superstars.

“The tougher the challenge, the happier he is.”