Former Formula 1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi believes F1 is thriving off the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen this year, and is certain the fight will continue for the remainder of 2021.
Hamilton leads Verstappen by eight points in the Drivers' Championship with the pair going wheel-to-wheel in multiple races, as well as having a collision at the British Grand Prix.
It's the fight everyone has been waiting for and it's delivered in abundance so far.
"It's amazing because it shows you that you can never relax, you can never give up and you can never think it's done," Liuzzi told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview.
"The championship is long and some nightmare races can happen which can change the full championship situation, so it's good for the sport that it's up and down.
"It keeps everybody active and focused for not giving up for the championship. So I think we will have a season like this from now until the end of the season.
"It's a shame if I look at the driver point of view, because he [Verstappen] was clearly showing that he deserved to win and fight for this championship. But it's good that we are in the middle of the season and we don't have a clear winner yet. This will be a good fight until the end of the year."
This season is Verstappen's first title challenge since he made his F1 debut in 2015. Liuzzi thinks the Red Bull driver is great for the sport and says he deserves a world title.
"Max is a driving machine, a racing animal," explained Liuzzi. "He deserves everything he is having. He is in a new generation of Formula 1. Max has always showed amazing performance and really big speed.
"But in the first couple of years he was doing quite big mistakes, he crashed quite often and in my day that was less 'allowed'. Every time I was breaking a front wing, I had [Helmut] Marko shouting in my ear. Now it's a different thing.
"Max is a driver who deserves the World Championship, because he is showing amazing speed. He's growing even though he still makes some, not maturity mistakes but he follows his heart a lot more than his head.
"But he fully deserves a World Championship. I really hope for him that in the next years, I don't know if it will be this one or the next one, he can have a good car to continue fighting."
Verstappen is certainly one of the most marketable drivers on the current grid along with Hamilton. Liuzzi sees parallels between Verstappen in F1 with Valentino Rossi in MotoGP.
"Formula 1 needs somebody like him [Verstappen], because he makes for a good show and good entertainment," continued Liuzzi. "He's an active person. He's a bit like Rossi in MotoGP, he attracts the fans, so he is perfect for Formula 1 and F1 needed someone like him.
"It's amazing to see this fight between him and Hamilton this year because they are not giving up with each other and always pushing at 110 percent."
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