Lewis Hamilton ‘dying’ for Max Verstappen fight as Mercedes star eager to renew rivalry

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LEWIS HAMILTON came within minutes of landing a record eighth F1 world title last season.

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Lewis Hamilton has admitted he’s “dying” to rival Max Verstappen for the F1 title once again. The Mercedes ace was moments away from securing a record eighth F1 championship last year before being pipped at the post by Verstappen following a controversial end to the season-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton has endured a miserable season this time around and currently trails Verstappen by a staggering 152 points in the Drivers’ Championship. But, despite his struggles, the Briton still has hopes of going toe-to-toe with Verstappen in the future.

“I’m dying to get back in that race and have the opportunity to fight Max, but the day hasn’t come [yet],” explained Hamilton, who finished fourth at the Dutch Grand Prix at the weekend.

“There’s so many great things to take [from the Dutch GP]. If this can be the same in the future races, we’re going to be continuing to breathe down their necks and get that win. I’m taking all these positives forwards, so [I’m] grateful for the team and all their hard work because it has been a tough slog for all of them. Let’s just not give up.”

Lewis Hamilton 'dying' for Max Verstappen fight as Mercedes star eager to renew rivalry

Lewis Hamilton (right) has admitted he’s ‘dying’ to rival Max Verstappen for the F1 title once again (Image: GETTY)

Hamilton’s issues came about after Mercedes experienced severe porpoising problems during the first half of the year. Teams were forced to redesign their cars over the off-season amid a whole host of F1 regulation changes – and the Silver Arrows initially seemed to be hampered by their new design more than their rival teams.

As a result of their problems, Hamilton found himself being left in the wake of Verstappen and the other top drivers during the early stages of the season and was only able to claim a podium finish in one of the first eight Grands Prix. The 37-year-old has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes in recent months, however, and secured three third-place finishes on the bounce in Canada, Great Britain and Austria, before claiming back-to-back second-place finishes in France and Hungary.

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Lewis Hamilton 'dying' for Max Verstappen fight as Mercedes star eager to renew rivalry

Lewis Hamilton has won a joint-record seven F1 world titles (Image: EXPRESS)

At the weekend, Hamilton appeared to be on course to win his first race of the season at the Dutch Grand Prix after putting himself in the frame to taste glory. But the veteran ultimately missed out on another podium finish after a Safety Car was deployed and Mercedes chiefs opted against changing his tyres.

The victory in the Netherlands went to Verstappen in the end, as the Dutchman stormed past the chequered flag in first position for the 10th time this season. The 24-year-old has been in imperious form once again this year and now looks certain to win his second F1 title after building a 109-point lead over Ferrari star Charles Leclerc and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez. Hamilton, meanwhile, is in sixth place in the overall standings so will have to bide his time until next season if he wants to challenge Verstappen for honours once again.

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