Formula 1: Verstappen would 'smash' Hamilton at Mercedes according to ex-champion

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Nelson Piquet has never been one to shy away from a bold view or two and he's certainly underlined that this week, claiming Max Verstappen would 'smash' Lewis Hamilton if the pair were in the same cars.

The Brazilian won the Drivers' title in the 1980s three times so obviously knows what it takes to lift the top crown in the sport, with many expecting Verstappen to really challenge Hamilton for it this season.

The Briton, of course, is a seven-time World Champion having had storming success in the turbo-hybrid era with Mercedes, with that prompting some quarters to suggest it's more the car than the driver that's the reason behind all the records.

Of course, Sunday afternoon was a reminder that, despite those claims, Hamilton is still one of the all-time greats as he preserved his tyres and fought-off a hard-charging Verstappen in the final laps in Sakhir.

For Piquet, though, it seems like it would be no contest in the Dutchman's favour if he was to partner the 96-time Grand Prix winner at Mercedes - or in any other car of the same spec.

Quoted by Motorsport.com, Piquet mused:

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“It’s not that Hamilton isn’t good. But he has an inferior driver by his side and the previous one [Nico Rosberg] was even worse.

"First of all, we have to consider that 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.

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

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Some will hold his view, some will obviously not given Max is yet to even win a title but, at least for the first time for a good while, we appear to have two teams pretty even in strength.

It's a great debate to be had but Hamilton has shown he's more than ready for the fight this season and it's going to be brilliant to watch the two sides go toe-to-toe over the course of the campaign.

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