Horner keen to see Hamilton go 'toe-to-toe' with Verstappen & Leclerc

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner is excited to see Lewis Hamilton go "toe-to-toe" with Formula 1's young guns in the coming years.

The six-time world champion may have strolled to another title in 2019 but the second half of the season saw some notable battles with the two top youngsters on the grid, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

While the Briton had mixed success vs. the Dutchman, winning in Hungary but losing in Brazil, Leclerc would hold off Hamilton during their two main fights in Spa and Monza.

And as Red Bull and Ferrari look set to close the gap to Mercedes in 2020, Horner hopes them - plus some other names like Lando Norris and Alex Albon - can start to make their mark.

“Every now and again, you get a wave coming along and I think we’ve got that at the moment,” he commented.

“Especially exciting is the Max/Leclerc dynamic, how that’s going to play out over future years, how Lewis can still go toe to toe with those guys.

“Because there’s life in him yet as well and I think he’s keen to gauge himself against the young wave that’s coming through.

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“I think for Formula 1 it’s fantastic to have the dynamics of the young guys, the challengers, coming through and some of the older guys that are the old dogs that know all the tricks.”

Hamilton too has often spoken about how he's having to raise his game to stay ahead of the next generation...

“The core of what I do is that I love racing, I love the challenge,” he stated.

“I love arriving knowing I have got these incredibly talented youngsters who are trying to beat me and outperform me, outsmart me, and I love that battle that I get into that every single year.

“And I am working with these guys who are so much smarter than me and they make me feel smarter, [and] when I am challenging them and proving them wrong so many times, it is unreal!"

However, the 35-year-old also knows his F1 career will have to wind down at some point.

“I don’t fear [the day I retire]. It is going to be a sad day, to hang up and stop doing something you’ve loved your whole life and as long as you can remember. But that is why I have all these other things in place that I can fall back on," Lewis conceded.

“The fashion side, for example, I’ve found another business that I can do for a long time if successful. Currently that is going really, really well but I don’t know how long it will go, but at least I have another interest.

“But there are a lot of different things I can be interested in. I know my life is not going to be over when I retire and that gives me a lot of comfort but right now I feel physically good enough to continue so I’m going to try to eke that out as long as I can.”