Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Lewis Hamilton tips ‘smooth-sailing’ Max Verstappen to defend his title

Lewis Hamilton has tipped Max Verstappen to win the world championship (Tim Goode/PA)
Lewis Hamilton has tipped Max Verstappen to win the world championship (Tim Goode/PA)

Lewis Hamilton expects Max Verstappen to cruise to his second world championship – describing the Red Bull driver’s path to probable glory as “smooth-sailing”.

Verstappen racked up the seventh win of his title defence at Sunday’s French Grand Prix after rival Charles Leclerc crashed out from the lead.

Verstappen will arrive for this week’s Hungarian Grand Prix – the final round before Formula One’s four-week summer shutdown – holding a commanding 63-point advantage over Leclerc, the equivalent of two-and-a-half victories with 10 rounds left.

Hamilton, who is now more than a century of points behind Verstappen despite claiming his best result of the season with second place in France, said: “I am gutted for Charles. He has been doing a great job.

“But it is not easy to have that performance and pace and be able to maintain it. I feel for the whole team because I know what that can feel like.

“It is a massive gap to Max so that is pretty smooth-sailing for him in that space.

“But a lot can go wrong. I would just advise Ferrari to keep their heads down and continue to push.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team celebrated their finest result of the season with George Russell finishing third to join Hamilton on the podium.

It has been a turbulent campaign for the grid’s once all-conquering team, leaving Hamilton to draw parallels with 2009.

Hamilton started that season in a deeply uncompetitive McLaren before pulling off a surprise win at the Hungaroring. Could history repeat itself this weekend?

“I remember that year very clearly,” said Hamilton, who has won in Hungary a record eight times.

“I remember arriving back from winter training and being in a meeting with the guys, and they were like ‘we have already hit our downforce target’. And I was like ‘wow, really? That probably means we have not set the target high enough’.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton secured Mercedes' best result of the season at Sunday's French Grand Prix
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton secured Mercedes’ best result of the season at Sunday’s French Grand Prix (Manu Fernandez/AP)

“I got in the car in a test at Portimao and it was horrendous to drive, the worst car I have ever driven. But we chipped away at it, and we got our first win in Budapest.

“The start of this year was very similar. Sitting down it looked glorious. We had a lot of performance on the car, and a lot of confidence that the car was going to be good.

“But we got in the car, it was bouncing and it has taken a long time to fix that.

“So far we have not made that big step that we did in 2009 to win in Budapest but who knows? We are not giving up.

“We are staying pedal to the metal. Maybe our car will be good in Hungary, maybe we will be closer to Red Bull and Ferrari. I hope so much that we will be because I love that track.”