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Verstappen sees no reason for Hamilton to stop racing

New champ expects Lewis to be back next season despite his disappointment about being beaten on the last lap of the last race

Max Verstappen said he doesn't feel sorry but understood it can be very painful for Lewis Hamilton.
Max Verstappen said he doesn't feel sorry but understood it can be very painful for Lewis Hamilton.
Image: Getty Images

Formula One champion Max Verstappen expects Lewis Hamilton to be back next season to battle for a record eighth title despite the Briton's disappointment at being beaten this year on the last lap of the last race.

Speaking to reporters before the governing FIA's gala awards night in Paris, where he will be presented with the champion's trophy, the Red Bull driver recognised his Mercedes rival's suffering.

Hamilton shunned the gathering, with team boss Toto Wolff also absent and indicating some uncertainty over his disillusioned driver's future after last Sunday's finale in Abu Dhabi.

"I don't feel sorry but I can understand it can be very painful," said Verstappen.

"But at the end of the day that's racingl. You just have to just keep fighting to the end and you know in racing anything can happen.

"He also won a championship like that. I think he can understand as well," added the 24-year-old, who overtook Hamilton at Yas Marina when a sudden change to the safety car procedure gave him a chance after it seemed he had none.

Hamilton took his first title with McLaren in 2008 with a last corner move that shattered Brazilian Ferrari driver Felipe Massa's hopes.

Asked how bad it would be if Hamilton did not come back to renew the battle next season, Verstappen doubted that would happen.

"I can understand  the first few days after a race like that you're not happy, but you should also understand this is racing," he said.

"I think he should look back at what he has achieved already.

"That should give him a lot of comfort and should also be that drive to  keep  going because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title, and for sure he can do that again next year.

"I don't see any reason to give up or stop now." 

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