KEY POINTS

  • Pierre Gasly weighs in on the growing rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
  • Gasly is convinced that Verstappen is already at the top of his game
  • The Red Bull star is set for another intense race against Hamilton at the Portuguese Grand Prix

A former champion is certain one driver is closing in on beating Lewis Hamilton.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly has worked side-by-side with Max Verstappen on the track during his time with Red Bull.

In recent times, Verstappen has established himself as one of Formula One’s most sought-after drivers.

In the process, the Dutchman has clashed with seven-time world champion Hamilton in several major competitions.

For Gasly, it will be just “a matter of time” before his former teammate can completely dominate the sport.

“Max [Verstappen], for sure, clearly,” Gasly recently told  RaceFans.net when naming who could be world champions in the near future. “He is already there and it’s a matter of time before he’s World Champion in a car that allows him to be World Champion.”

Verstappen and Hamilton have topped the first two major competitions of the season. The former failed to beat his nemesis in Bahrain but managed to avenge his loss at the recent Imola Grand Prix.

Addressing his first win of the season, Verstappen raved about the team’s improvement but also admitted that they still have to “work hard” for the next races.

“I am of course very happy with this win for everyone in the Team and Honda,” Verstappen said after the race. “I think the key was of course the start as we had a great launch. I surprised myself as it was always hard to get off the line in the wet last year but we worked hard to try and improve that and it worked.”

“We won because we made the right calls with tyres at the right time and the Team managed everything well in these conditions,” he continued. “With the tyres degrading, choosing the right moment to go onto slicks wasn’t easy but we got it right. I had a little moment at the re-start trying to warm up the tyres with some throttle but luckily we didn’t spin.”

“We still have to work hard to improve because it’s very close, but for now I’m very happy with the result. I’m looking forward to Portimão because it’s an amazing track and then we go to a track we all know well in Barcelona."

The sensational victory at Imola has put Verstappen one point behind Hamilton in the standings heading to the Portuguese Grand Prix next month, where the pair is expected to go head-to-head en route to the final lap once again.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was a winner in Austria last year Red Bull's Max Verstappen was a winner in Austria last year Photo: AFP / William WEST