Of all the current drivers on the Formula 1 grid, you can bet Lewis Hamilton is most wary of Max Verstappen. At the end of last season, when asked about the drivers he would most need to watch if all had roughly equal cars, Hamilton confirmed the names of three rivals he felt were operating at a similar level. Verstappen was right there, alongside Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
"We're the four strongest drivers," said Hamilton, who described Alonso as the "toughest driver there is". Many would agree. But until the Renault-powered teams properly get their act together, Ferrari star Vettel is the most likely to have the chance to put Hamilton under immediate pressure.
Given Verstappen is the only non-champion among this group, and has so far 'only' won three grands prix, you'd naturally expect Hamilton to focus less intently on the Red Bull driver. But Hamilton has now taken on and beaten Vettel in a proper championship fight, exposing his fellow four-time world champion's occasional mental fragility in the heat of battle.