Hamilton: I love the challenge of fighting F1's young drivers

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Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to the fight as Formula 1's next generation of champions try to steal his torch.

In Austria, the sport got a first look at what lies in store for the next decade when Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen duelled for victory in the closing laps.

And though a rare off day for Mercedes meant the Briton wasn't involved, he has no intention of letting them take over that easily.

"Hopefully no time soon," Hamilton told Sky Sports talking about retirement plans

"I love the challenge of trying to keep this young'uns behind me. I'm excited about the youngsters coming through, seeing what they bring and seeing if I can compete with them.

"I love it."

Since the race in Spielberg, Red Bull boss Christian Horner made the bold claim that Verstappen has been the "best driver in the world" over the past year, even ahead of the world champion.

"I don't compare myself to anybody, I don't need to," said Hamilton in response. "I don't really have an answer to his claims. Ultimately every now and then somebody needs certain attention...

"I think Max has been doing a great job and he's really, really exciting to watch," he noted. "I think the last race was really fantastic. It'll be interesting to see how they do moving forward."

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This weekend sees Lewis' second attempt at becoming the first six-time winner of the British Grand Prix, and though Mercedes remain favourites, he expects a tough battle.

“We are fully aware the Ferrari and Red Bull have taken a step forward but if we did not have the issues we have, we would have been in the fight [in Austria],” he believes.

“This weekend it will be closer. Ferrari were quick here last year and Red Bull were a bit off but now they have a new engine so I expect them to be better. It is definitely not going to be an easy weekend."

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