Verstappen leads Hamilton by six points coming into the closing stages of a season that has been one of the most dramatic in F1 history
Lewis Hamilton is facing the most intense battle of his career against Max Verstappen, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who believes the seven-time world champion has experienced “nothing” like this season’s title challenge.
Hamilton has won six of the last seven drivers’ championships and has been involved in titles races against Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, with many of those title-winning seasons coming down to the last race of the calendar.
The Mercedes driver trails Verstappen by six points with six races of the season remaining as Formula 1 heads to the Texas this weekend for the United States Grand Prix.
The campaign so far has been defined by Hamilton and Verstappen’s battles on the track, with the 24-year-old Dutchman aiming to become one of the youngest championship winners in history as Red Bull seek their first title since 2013.
“I think, inevitably, there’s always going to be an evolution,” he told The Guardian. “Lewis has had an amazing career and he’s still in fantastic form. He’s still a titan of the sport.
“The fact that Max is able to go toe-to-toe with him is probably something Lewis hasn’t had throughout his career – certainly through the championship years. There’s nothing with this degree of intensity.
“There’s obviously a lot at stake for him as he’s going for a record-breaking eighth championship, Max is going for his first and he knows he’s got many more years to come.”
Mercedes have won seven drivers’ and constructors’ championships in a row and this season represents Red Bull’s best opportunity to end the German team’s reign of dominance since new engine regulations were introduced in 2013.
Horner, who won four championships in a row between 2010 and 2013, said beating Mercedes this season would be the “biggest achievement” of his career in Formula 1.
“If you look at the strength of Mercedes, and the dominance they’ve had, it’s clear that nobody’s come near them for years,” he added. “No one has put them under this kind of pressure at this stage of the season. So it will be an enormous achievement if we pull it off.”