Former F1 Team Principal Eddie Jordan has said he would back Max Verstappen to beat Lewis Hamilton in equal machinery.
The two duelled for the 2021 World Championship in one of the most dramatic seasons in the sport's history, with Verstappen ultimately prevailing at the final round in Abu Dhabi in hotly-contested circumstances.
However, since then, the Dutchman has dominated F1, winning 15 races on his way to the 2022 title, and looking set to win the 2023 Championship by an even bigger margin.
By contrast, Hamilton has not won a race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and although this winless streak owes much to the disparity in competitiveness between Mercedes and Red Bull, Jordan said he thought Verstappen in his current form would edge seven-time World Champion Hamilton.
"I think [Hamilton] will still win Grands Prix, but he will need certain things to fall into place for him," Jordan said on the Formula for Success podcast.
"Lewis has emerged in the past couple of races and been very strong, and I've been hugely impressed with what he's doing.
"But Max [Verstappen] is at the sweet spot for age, experience, belief, knowledge, the people he's been around with, the team, he's in a very solid, safe structure.
"It's going to take some job to knock him off that perch, and I think in the same car, right at this moment, as we speak, with the [drivers being] the same age, it has to be Max."
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Verstappen 'totally immersed' in driving
13-time F1 Grand Prix winner David Coulthard echoed Jordan's comments, suggesting that the two drivers' contrasting off-track hobbies point to a narrow advantage for Verstappen.
"I've got to say that Max is in that sweet spot," said Coulthard.
"25 years old, to have done what he has done in F1, he's got to have the edge. Lewis would appear to be a busy boy off the track with all of his passions.
"And as we know, Max when he is off track is very much focused on his simulator, e-gaming team and he's all totally immersed with anything to do with driving."