Sport Hamilton tells Verstappen it is 'GAME ON' ahead of Spanish Grand Prix
David Coulthard believes 'only the racing gods' can deny Verstappen
EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton has romped to successive world championships, breaking all manner of records along the way, and now fans are excited at the prospect of the 36-year-old facing a real test.After two races Verstappen and Red Bull have showcased the necessary pace to truly challenge Hamilton and Mercedes this campaign, with the Dutchman clinching victory at Imola to move just a point behind the Brit in the drivers' standings.
has told it is 'game on' as Formula One's title rivals gear up for the fourth chapter of their championship battle in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton holds an eight-point advantage over Verstappen following his second win of the season in Portugal last weekend.
Red Bull started the year with the speediest machinery, but there was an all-too-familiar look to the top of the timesheets at's Circuit de Catalunya on Friday as Hamilton led team-mate in an ominous Mercedes one-two.
Verstappen finished only ninth after he was forced to abandon his hot lap when he ran wide at the new left-handed turn 10.
Hamilton takes 100th career pole position
Lewis Hamilton reached another Formula One milestone with a record-extending 100th pole position. Hamilton powered his Mercedes to the top time in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix with a flying lap that beat out top rival Max Verstappen by just 0.03 seconds.That smidgen of a second could translate into a big edge come Sunday. Hamilton will aim to maintain his dominance of the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit and increase the eight-point advantage he has over Verstappen following three races.
Verstappen, already 0.134 seconds slower than Hamilton before the error, elected not to run again, thus handing the initiative to Mercedes.
The Dutchman will mark his 100th appearance on Sunday. Verstappen was only 17 when he was handed his debut by Toro Rosso in 2015.
The following year he was promoted to Red Bull, winning for the team in Spain in his maiden drive after Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out.
'Max has more experience now and he is clearly incredibly hungry to win more races and to win this championship so it is game on,' said Hamilton.
Video: Lewis Hamilton: 'Overtaking these two guys is a good feeling' (Daily Mail)
'That's what we are here to do, to race, to be fighting for wins, and the battles that we have had in these first few races have been amazing. I am excited to enjoy more.
Lewis Hamilton wins in Barcelona
with the better racing strategy Configured the Formula 1 world champion to stip his competitors Max. The Red Bull Pilot fails because his tires can no longer compete against race ends. © Albert GEA / Reuters once pleasure, once frustration: Victor Lewis Hamilton (r.) And the beaten Max (r.) It was a scene that had almost a little symbol character: as Max stip his Red Bull after the Race in Barcelona in the so-called Parc Fermé behind the stand with the number two posted, since the wind swept th
'It is crazy to think there are still 20 races to go, and you are seeing the closest battle we have had for some time.
'Max has a championship-winning car and a championship-winning team who can pull off the job if we don't do ours. From my side, experience will help, but we have to get the job done.'
Verstappen's championship pedigree will face another stern examination in Barcelona.
Rosberg, the only driver who has been able to stop Hamilton from winning the title in the past seven seasons, believes the Briton's rival is making too many mistakes.
Verstappen could have started from pole at all of the opening three races but for hiccups in qualifying.
He performed an illegal overtake on Hamilton while dicing for the win at the season opener in Bahrain and then allowed Hamilton to cruise past him in Portimao after running wide while in pursuit of leader Bottas.
Bottas denies Hamilton 100th pole in Portugal
Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton completing a Mercedes front-row lockout in qualifying on Saturday. Hamilton's pursuit of a 100th pole at the track where last year he notched up his record 92nd win was delayed when Bottas earned the 17th of his career. "It's a good feeling to be on pole," said Bottas after a final qualifying session lap of 1min 18.348sec. He added:Hamilton's pursuit of a 100th pole at the track where last year he notched up his record 92nd win was delayed when Bottas earned the 17th of his career.
Verstappen might also be alarmed by Hamilton's track record in Spain. The seven-time world champion has not lost at the circuit soil since his collision with Rosberg in 2016.
'We have managed to do a better job, but we cannot continue to rely on mistakes by the others,' added Hamilton, who will be out to claim the 100th pole position of his career on Saturday.
'Personally, I am really happy with my output so far. You are always trying to raise the bar, and to make as few mistakes as possible, and that is something that is very difficult to do.'
For now, their rivalry is amicable, but both Mercedes and Red Bull team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner do not expect the niceties will last.
But Verstappen said: 'Our relationship is very relaxed. We get on very well and when you respect each other and when you can say to each other, the other one has done a better job, that is important.
'We will fight hard but they will, too, which is good for the sport.'
Concerning admission overshadows Ricciardo resurgence .
Daniel Ricciardo had his best weekend of the year, but the Spanish Grand Prix wasn't all good news for his McLaren team.Ricciardo finished the Spanish Grand Prix in sixth place, two spots ahead of Norris, but of concern will be the fact that McLaren had only the fourth fastest car this weekend.