Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has downplayed Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton's experience in F1 title fights as the pair get set to resume their battle for the 2021 crown at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, 36, is on the hunt for an eighth world title in 2021, while Verstappen, 23, is chasing his first.
After 11 rounds, Hamilton holds a slender eight-point advantage over Verstappen, having won the British Grand Prix in the wake of their controversial clash, and taken advantage of first-lap drama at the Hungaroring to move clear in the standings.
When asked by RacingNews365.com about Hamilton's experience of title fights, and whether that's an advantage for the Briton going into the second half of the season, Verstappen replied: "Personally, I don't think so.
"The only advantage you can really have I think is just if you have a faster car. In this sport it's so dominant when you have a good car. There are so many good drivers in this sport, but they don't have the opportunity to fight at the front.
"If you have seven titles or one, or zero… at the end of the day, when you have spent a few years in F1, especially more towards the front, like top five, you know that you have to try and finish every race, you know that you have to try and score the most available points every single weekend.
"I think all of us, we always try to do our best and race in the best possible way, so I don't really see the advantage there [to Hamilton's experience]."
Verstappen is hopeful that Red Bull will be a stronger opponent to Mercedes at Spa-Francorchamps in 2021 than they have been in previous years, having made significant steps with their car and Honda's power unit.
"For sure, they [Mercedes] will be quick here [at Spa]," Verstappen added.
"Traditionally, this track hasn't been the best for us, because of the long straights. I know we definitely did close the gap a bit in terms of top speed, but we're still not there.
"I do think compared to last year, for sure our car is a lot better, our top speed is better. But how is it going to be against them? It's a bit difficult to say.
"Anyway, the weather doesn't look great for the whole weekend. It's going to be a bit rainy, then a bit dry, so we'll have to wait and see."
In our latest video, RacingNews365.com takes a look at how Hamilton and Verstappen stack up in terms of their performances over the first half of the 2021 F1 World Championship.