Lewis Hamilton is competing against a younger version of himself in his battle with Max Verstappen, according to former F1 driver Anthony Davidson.
The start of the 2021 season has seen the two engaged in a close battle, with Hamilton so far coming out on top after winning three of the four races. Davidson believes that Hamilton is showing his maturity in his 15th season in Formula 1, but that Verstappen is his equal when it comes to pure speed.
"Off the line, he had that threat from Max on the inside," Davidson told Sky Sports F1 about Hamilton's race start in Spain. "He didn't know exactly where he was because it was a bit of a karting late lunge from Max.
"But in those kinds of moments, I do think that the older Lewis [from the past] maybe would have turned in. The Lewis that used to have a few clashes with the Felipe Massas of the world back then in those days.
"I think it's great to see a driver knowing to get out of the way, just having that sixth sense about you. If we look at Max's start, it's almost as if Lewis is racing a younger version of himself in Max. They are each other's equal in speed, I believe."
Despite Verstappen's overtake on Hamilton at the start of the race, the Grand Prix later played into Hamilton's hands thanks to a strong strategy and Hamilton's ability to hunt Verstappen down.
Davidson thinks that it was again down to the seven-times world champion's experience and mature outlook that he was able to pull off this feat.
"It's just seeing this maturity, he knows his own abilities now," the former Formula 1 driver explained.
"He's got the time behind the wheel and sees the bigger picture in the race. For me, the right car won today, the right driver won today.
"[It] might not be the same situation in races coming up, but today Mercedes had to win on this track, because this is their track."