Lewis Hamilton has questioned the strength of Max Verstappen’s Formula One teammates compared to the drivers he’s partnered in his career.
The seven times world champion also told Sky Italy that he was “no more impressed” with the Red Bull driver’s achievements than he had been when other champions were winning and dominating.
“When I qualified half a second, six tenths ahead of Valtteri [Bottas], they [the media] didn’t say the same thing as they say today when Max qualifies six tenths ahead of [Sergio] Perez,” he said.
“It’s blown up much more.
“In my personal opinion, Valtteri and all of my team mates have been stronger than the team mates that Max has had.
“Jenson [Button], Fernando [Alonso], George [Russell], Valtteri, Nico [Rosberg]. I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very, very strong, very consistent and Max has not raced against anyone like that.”
Verstappen is chasing his 10th successive win this weekend at Monza and leads Perez by a mighty 138 points after 13 of 22 races.
The Dutch 25-year-old made his debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz, now at Ferrari, as his team mate.
Verstappen ended that season with 49 points to Sainz’s 18.
He moved up to Red Bull in 2016 and over the years has been team mate to Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Perez.
Ricciardo scored more points in 2016, understandable since Verstappen did the first four races with Toro Rosso, and also in 2017. No other team mate has come close since then.
Hamilton was beaten by 2009 world champion Button in 2011, by Rosberg in 2016 when the German took the title and by Russell in 2022.
He finished level on points, but ahead on results, of double world champion Alonso in 2007 but Heikki Kovalainen in 2008 and 2009 was easy to deal with and fellow Finn Bottas never managed a sustained challenge.
None of Verstappen’s team mates have been world champions.