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Hamilton expects to raise game against Verstappen & Leclerc in 2019

Written by  Nov 17, 2018

Lewis Hamilton has identified the rise of Formula 1's two young guns, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, as a reason for him to keep raising his game in 2019.

For the second straight season, the Briton saw off a challenge from Sebastian Vettel to claim his fifth championship as a combination of remarkable consistency and errors from the other side proved decisive.

However, with the level of competition expected to grow, Hamilton knows avoiding the problems he did have at certain times this year will be paramount.

"We will definitely look at the season at the end of the year and there are always areas you look at," explained the Mercedes driver

"We didn't win every single race, there were some mishaps at the beginning of the year and there is always room to improve.

"So I expect to do that and that's my expectation in myself. I have got to work to do over this winter and there will be a slightly amended approach.

"Of course, you have to dig deep because you have these young kids that are coming," Lewis added.

"Leclerc at Ferrari will be hungry to prove a point and you've got Max who is still hungry to prove a point, so I have to make sure I am still there [at the top of my game]."

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Anticipation is growing over Leclerc after a number of strong performances, including a remarkable Q2 lap in Brazil which saw him make the top 10 when rain had appeared to make the track too wet.

The Monegasque then followed that up with a 'best of the rest' seventh place in the race and admits having Hamilton's attention is very satisfying.

"It's definitely an honour to hear that from Lewis," he said. "He's an incredible driver and I've watched him for quite a few years before arriving in F1.

"I'll just try to do the best I can next year, but it's definitely not going to be easy. He's very experienced and an amazing driver. But it's definitely good to hear that."

As for Verstappen, he has arguably been the only driver near Hamilton's level since Canada and with expectations high over Red Bull's switch to Honda power, the Dutchman could be set to strike.

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