Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 prodigy Max Verstappen has the "potential" to be world champion is in the "perfect place" at Red Bull to continue growing his career.
The Briton has been one of the biggest supporters of the young Dutchman, who after just a few years could be considered on a similar level to the Mercedes driver both in terms of ability and fan following.
Indeed, Hamilton has identified the second-generation racer as one of his main rivals for 2018 but for now, he is praising the work Verstappen has done to rise up so quickly.
"He definitely has the potential to be a world champion as we've all seen that and that is why he has such a great following," the current champion said in Barcelona last week.
"We've seen the way he drives and he has great potential and is in a great team. I think he is in the perfect place to continue growing.
"He has a long time ahead of him even with a good few seasons under his belt. I still hadn't even had my first season at 21 so he is even further ahead than me and a lot of the drivers."
For all his praise, however, the 33-year-old is eager to ensure Verstappen's success is kept to a minimum while he remains on the grid.
"While I'm here I am going to be doing what I can to stop him winning," Lewis, who has previously claimed he will need to improve to stay ahead, stated.
"People won't particularly love that but that is what we are here to do, we are here to battle and I am looking forward to having some really positive battles with him -- hopefully this year."
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