Lewis Hamilton has praised Red Bull and Max Verstappen for a "phenomenal" season as the Dutchman lines up his first opportunity to secure his third F1 Drivers' title.
Verstappen can achieve the feat in the Sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix having dominated the current campaign, securing a record number of consecutive race wins among his 13 wins from 16 events.
Only Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel have won more than three titles in F1 history, though with stagnant regulations until 2026 it is unlikely Verstappen's success will be halted.
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Asked where he believed rival Verstappen's success would put the Red Bull driver in the ranking of F1 greats, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "I wouldn't rank him. I think ranking people is an opinion-based thing.
"I think he's earned his position, he's done an amazing job with the package that he has.
"Him and the team have been phenomenal this year, faultless, and I think they've raised the bar.
"As a team we have to look at that, and say: 'Ok, these are the areas that we need to develop to be able to match that and compete'.
"I do hope at some stage we can fight them and actually have them in a defending position, but they should definitely enjoy the moment because they've worked for it."