Three-time Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet believes Max Verstappen would “smash” Lewis Hamilton if they were team-mates.
Piquet reckons Verstappen’s greater aggression would see him beat Hamilton if they were driving the same car and at the same time questioned the abilities of Hamilton’s current team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.
“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,” the 1981, 1983 and 1987 champion told Autosport.
“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.”
The 68-year-old compared his own time at Williams to that of Hamilton and Bottas at Mercedes where they too enjoy an advantage over their rivals, but Piquet says Hamilton has always had weaker team-mates, allowing him to earn the spoils unchallenged.
“It’s a little bit like Mansell and myself in Williams, with the other drivers far behind,” added the Brazilian.
“I won the 1987 championship, and I wasn’t driving like before, because I had the accident at the beginning of the year and had field depth problems.
“But it was so easy. The car was far better than the others. And Mercedes is far better than the others for the past years.
“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. He [Rosberg] won because it was a year where Hamilton had crashes and DNFs.”