'Aggressive' Verstappen would 'smash' Hamilton at Mercedes - Piquet

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Max Verstappen says Lewis Hamilton deserves more "credit" after Nelson Piquet declared he would "smash" the world champion at Mercedes.

Though it is the Briton who has enjoyed almost all the success in recent years, many believe Verstappen is actual the better pound-for-pound driver who has simply been held back by the dominance of Mercedes.

That debate could finally be answered in 2021, as Red Bull appears to have caught if not surpassed Mercedes in terms of car performance this season.

But the Brazilian triple F1 champion, whose daughter Kelly is current dating the Dutchman, highlighted the argument, claiming Verstappen has an edge that a pampered Hamilton simply couldn't match.

“First of all, we have to consider F1 is a category with different cars, so it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison between two drivers if they are not on the same team,” he was quoted by Motorsport.com.

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“But if Max were driving for Mercedes, I’m sure he would smash Hamilton.

“Max is more aggressive. He may make mistakes more frequently due to this aggressiveness, but in my opinion, he’s better than Hamilton.

“Things are too easy for Hamilton to win it all with [Valtteri] Bottas by his side as a second driver.”

In Bahrain, however, while Verstappen had the pace advantage in the Red Bull, it was Hamilton and Mercedes' strategy that gave Lewis the lead and ultimately the win by 0.7s at the finish.

And Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes the back and forth battle proved there is little to choose between the two.

“The race clearly showed that the two are in a class of their own but what Hamilton has over Max is incredible consistency," he reflected.

“I don’t know how many races he has, how many wins. You could see how he did a great job tactically, how he made line changes and so on. It was a very difficult race for Max.

“They are more or less on a par with each other, but Max will also be able to draw on a wealth of experience like Hamilton’s at some point."

As for Verstappen himself, he believes it is wrong to belittle Hamilton's ability and achievements because he has proven himself many times.

“Man, you know it’s super hard, but of course you have to give credit to Lewis," he said on who he thought was the best driver, other than himself.

“[For] the way he has dealt with all the years, to always come back and be honoured and win that amount of races and championships. You definitely cannot go around Lewis.

“Of course, there are still a lot of other people in Formula 1, I think who are very good, very strong, and would have been very good in that car as well.

“But still, the way Lewis has won and also sometimes in tricky races – like last year in Turkey, to win that race, I think he did very well.

“Yeah, definitely he is one of the best ever in Formula 1.”