Verstappen disputes suggestion he said Hamilton wasn't special

Max Verstappen insists he didn’t previously say that Lewis Hamilton wasn’t a “special” driver, claiming that the six-time world champion is one of the best to ever get behind the wheel in F1.

This season, the Brit won the drivers’ title again without too much hassle despite a mid-season spike in performance from Red Bull and Ferrari, putting him just one championship behind the all-time record holder, Michael Schumacher.

Verstappen has emerged as a potential challenger to Hamilton in the future, with the relationship between the two sometimes fractures with the Dutchman suggesting his opponent’s success is largely down to his superior Mercedes car.

He never said, however, that Hamilton wasn’t special.

“Everybody has their own style, and I didn’t say that Lewis is nothing special. He’s definitely one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1,” he told Autocar.

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Again, though, Verstappen highlighted the importance of having a top-performing car, naming Fernando Alonso as a driver who would have had more championships if he had a better car.

“But, like I said before, you are very dependent on your car, so for example if Fernando [Alonso] was in that car, he also would have won championships.

“Sometimes, you’re lucky in a way, because you join a team and then suddenly they become so dominant, and you win your championships.

“But sometimes, like unfortunately with Fernando, you go to teams at the wrong time and you don’t win, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a good driver. With Fernando, I feel he is one of the best also.”