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2017 F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull youngster Max Verstappen will be a big threat in his bid for a fifth world championship.

Verstappen took his third win of his Formula One career at the Mexican Grand Prix and second of the season at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday.

“I want to be better next year, the challenge is even bigger from Red Bull and Ferrari,” Hamilton, still buzzing with excitement, told reporters after finishing ninth to claim the title.

” F1 doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t stand still. And there’s always someone waiting to take my position.

“I’ve got that Max just sitting there waiting to take it. So I’ve got to raise the game another level in order to stay ahead of him. And that motivates me. I already have my motivation for next year.”

Hamilton hailed the young Dutch man as “an exceptional driver” and inspired about his race craft at the start on Sunday.

“You’ve got for sure a potential world champion within Max and he’s only going to get stronger with age,” he said.

“He’s a lot of raw talent at the moment and has got a long way to go but these wins, these experiences he’s having are only adding to his great potential. I’m looking forward to battling with that.”

Max renewed his contract and will stay at Red Bull until 2020. Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of next season but he has been calm about what looks to be no more than a formality.

“It’s quite an easy process for us, I think,” the Brit added.

“We’ve already got something great in place and it’s really just about enhancing it, working on what more I can do for them – sponsors or whatever it is for the brand – and vice-versa. I might miss Thursdays,” he joked.

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