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- Updated: November 1, 2017
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who has recently been crowned world champion for the fourth time, has admitted that the form and ability of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has given him the motivation to stick around in Formula One for further years.
The Brit has spoken many times in the past about wanting to explore more options after his time in Formula One, but said that the opportunity to fight against a youthful Verstappen in the years to come has helped him make up his mind as far as his immediate future is concerned.
As things stand, Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes will end at the end of 2018, but it looks increasingly likely that he will extend his tenure with the Silver Arrows in light of the Dutchman’s recent extension at Red Bull until the end of 2020.
“I want to be better next year,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com.
“The challenge is going to be even bigger from Ferrari and Red Bull next year. Formula 1 doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t stand still.
“There is always someone there waiting to take my position. I’ve got Max sitting there waiting to take it. I’ve got to raise the game another level in order to stay ahead of him and that motivates me.
“There’s my motivation already for next year.”
Having seen Verstappen from close quarters, Hamilton said that the youngster is destined to become a future world champion and will certainly get better with age having shown such talent and skill this early in his career.
“Max is an exceptional driver,” he added. “He drove fantastically and to see his racecraft at the start of the race was awesome.
“I hope they have a better engine next year and they are more in the fight. I think it would be great for the sport. You have a potential world champion in Max and he is only going to get stronger with age because he is a lot of raw talent.
“He has a long way to go but these wins are only adding to his great potential and I am looking forward to battling with that. Going down that straight three-abreast with two of the greatest drivers I have come across was…oh my god. I was so excited for the race today.”