Max Verstappen “would smash” Lewis Hamilton if he was his team-mate at Mercedes.
That is the opinion of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet.
Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in a thrilling contest at the front of the pack during Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Brit came out on top after Verstappen was forced to give his rival back the lead having passed him while off the track.
But in a swipe at Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Piquet reckons that Verstappen would wipe the floor with Hamilton if they were together at Mercedes.
Piquet told Autosport: “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.
“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 Bottas by his side as a second driver.
“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.”
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Piquet’s son, also named Nelson, admits that because they are both at completely different stages of their career, it is a battle of Verstappen’s desire against Hamilton’s experience.
“Lewis has been in F1 for 15 seasons and I think that, little by little, you start to lose that desire,” said Piquet Jr. “On the other hand, Max is coming with a knife between his teeth.
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“Lewis has already won seven championships, so he comes with another type of 'fire'. And that can make a difference.
“I like to compare Max with a MMA fighter, coming ready to face any challenge.
“It’s different from Lewis, that [he has] already won championships and so on.
“Lewis’ experience will help in some areas, but Max’s willingness and aggressiveness is bigger.”
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