Sebastian Vettel has Max Verstappen 'hope' in F1 title fight with Lewis Hamilton

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Sebastian Vettel hopes that Max Verstappen has a better car than he did at Ferrari for the culmination of an epic 2021 season. Red Bull driver Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by just six points in the drivers’ standings, with six races of the campaign remaining.

The first of those takes place in Austin, Texas, this weekend, before further Grand Prix’s in Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and then the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Despite Verstappen’s slender lead, pundits believe there were warning signals in the last two races, in Russia and Turkey, that Mercedes are starting to outpace Red Bull at a critical stage of the season.

Vettel won four consecutive titles with the team from 2010-2013, before the ‘Silver Arrows’ began their era of dominance, with Hamilton (six) and Nico Rosberg ensuring the team have won all seven drivers’ championships since.

In 2017 and 2018, it was Vettel, by then at Ferrari, who pushed Hamilton closest before tailing away in the latter part of the season, the German driver doesn’t want the same to happen to the Dutch prodigy.

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Sebastian Vettel has Max Verstappen 'hope' in F1 title fight with Lewis Hamilton
© GETTY Sebastian Vettel has hopes for Verstappen.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the race this weekend, the 34-year-old said “I hope that Max has a better car at the end, or better position to be in at the very end, because the fights that I was (in) with Lewis, unfortunately, we were not as competitive to really give him a hard time in the end.

“So I think it was quite clear and fairly easy for him to win the championship in the end.”

Verstappen, 24, and seven-time champion Hamilton, 36, have been embroiled in flash points this season, with the pair colliding on the track at both Silverstone and Monza.

However Vettel, now at Alfa Romeo, has enjoyed the duel and despite the controversies said he felt the battle had been ‘clean’ so far.

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“I think rivalry is good for any sport,” he said.

“But I’m a huge fan of rivalry with respect. And I think we’re seeing a very clean fight so far.”

Vettel himself however, is unlikely to be close to Hamilton or Verstappen as the pair jostle for the title lead in Texas.

He’s set to start the US Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to a power unit change, and understandably, thinks he may be in for a “difficult” weekend.

Sebastian Vettel has Max Verstappen 'hope' in F1 title fight with Lewis Hamilton
© GETTY Hamilton and Verstappen are in a title battle.

Earlier this month he triggered a contract extension which means he will stay with the team, alongside Lance Stroll, for the 2022 campaign but is yet to commit to a future in F1 beyond that.

The race in Austin is the first at the Circuit of the Americas since 2019, with last year’s event cancelled due to Covid-19.

Two years ago it was Valtteri Bottas who prevailed, although it’s Hamilton whose won five times in there in the past eight years.

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