Hamilton prepping for Verstappen and Leclerc threat in 2019

He’s at the top of his game but Lewis Hamilton believes he’ll need to work even harder next season to fend off the hungry young lions that will be lining up behind the Mercedes star.

As he battled to secure his fifth world title this season, Hamilton’s main opposition came from arch-rival Sebastian Vettel.

While the Ferrari driver will remain a force to be reckoned with in 2019, Hamilton also singles out Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc as a couple of fast and furious contenders that he expects to deal with.

Forewarned is forearmed therefore, and Hamilton will soon be reviewing his 2018 season with his crew in search of areas of improvement.

“We will definitely look at the season at the end of the year and there are always areas you look at,” explained the Brit.

“We didn’t win every single race, there were some mishaps at the beginning of the year and there is always room to improve.

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“So I expect to do that and that’s my expectation in myself. I have got to work to do over this winter and there will be a slightly amended approach.

“Of course, you have to dig deep because you have these young kids that are coming,” he added.

“Leclerc at Ferrari will be hungry to prove a point and you’ve got Max who is still hungry to prove a point, so I have to make sure I am still there [at the top of my game].”

The Scuderia’s new recruit, whom many can’t wait to see in a red car next year, was flattered to be considered as a threat by F1’s reigning world champion.

“It’s definitely an honour to hear that from Lewis,” Leclerc said.

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“He’s an incredible driver, and I’ve watched him since quite a bit of years before arriving in Formula One.

“I’ll just try to do the best I can next year, but it’s definitely not going to be easy. He’s very experienced and an amazing driver. But it’s definitely good to hear that.”

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