Bernie Ecclestone is the last one to say there will be an intense fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The former Formula 1 owner, however, is more worried that the outside activities will “distract” the 7-time World Champion.
Ecclestone sees a strong rival in Max Verstappen, who could challenge Hamilton and Mercedes for the Championship this season. He, however, expresses worries about Hamilton’s outside activities, to which he hopes those “distractions” don’t affect his on-track performance.
“We’ll have to wait and see if things have changed for him. I hope that all of those things he’s involved in don’t affect his on-track performance. But clearly Max Verstappen will challenge him this season,” told Ecclestone to Sport 1.
“I hope Sebastian Vettel can challenge him too. It’ll also be interesting to see how the young drivers afront the changes,” he continued.
Bernie also compared the lifestyle of today’s drivers from those of the past, saying they, and especially Lewis, have a lot of things to do outside the racing action.
“[In the past] everyone was 100% focused on winning races. But Lewis has a lot of other things to do and people want part of his time. So I hope that doesn’t affect him. That’s typical of Lewis.
“The other drivers aren’t like they were 30 years ago,” he added. “If they had time back then, they would spend it with friends. But that doesn’t happen anymore. They’re completely focused.”
Ecclestone, however, highlighted the strong sides of Hamilton, saying there’s no other driver as strong as him right now.
“Lewis Hamilton loves when he has rivals. He’s a very notable person with everything he does in his life. And I don’t think there’s another driver that does things so well like Hamilton, and that is able to win races,” he said.