Exclusive: David Coulthard tips three drivers to challenge Verstappen for titles after Hamilton

russell norris

Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Lando Norris could be the trio that challenge Max Verstappen for titles in the future once Lewis Hamilton leaves Formula 1, David Coulthard has told Give Me Sport exclusively.

The sport is in Brazil this weekend for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix and the third and final edition of Sprint, as Verstappen and Hamilton continue their fight for the 2021 championship.

Naturally, though, there's always one eye on the future in the sport and with Russell heading to Mercedes and both Norris and Leclerc hoping the 2022 regulation changes are going to benefit their teams McLaren and Ferrari in terms of car development, it might not be long until there are new names going for the ultimate prize.

Speaking ahead of the Brazilian race weekend, we caught up with David Coulthard to discuss who might be Verstappen's rivals in the years ahead once Hamilton has decided to call it a day - though there's no sign of that just yet - and he agreed with our triple pick as ones to watch:

"You've named them all! They're brilliant drivers and they're all worthy to be in the same mention as Lewis and Max. I think they clearly don't have the cars right now but we know from what George did in the Mercedes in Bahrain [last year] that he's got all the speed necessary because Valtteri [Bottas] is a fast racing driver, he just hasn't been able to put it together over an entire season to really challenge Lewis, and George competed with him.

"Lando has really impressed me with how he has grown this year because Daniel [Ricciardo] is a quality Grand Prix winner and Lando has pretty much been the team leader there [at McLaren,] and Charles we know has great speed when Ferrari give him the car - he's managed to get a pole or two this year in a car that isn't up to the level of the Mercedes or Red Bull."

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"I think the sport is in much healthier hands driver-talent wise than it has been in years gone by. 

"I think all of those guys are brilliantly fast and great communicators as well which is good for us given that we have to talk about them and report about what they do.

"If they were all, with the greatest respect to Kimi [Raikkonen,] Kimis we can wax lyrical about how great a driver he is but we don't get much back from him but with Charles, Lando and George they're examples of guys who really understand that communication."

charles leclerc

Tune in this Saturday for the F1 Sprint at the São Paulo Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports and highlights on Channel 4

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