In Brief

F1: Max Verstappen is world champion material says Ross Brawn

Rookie driver George Russell says he’s ‘ready to do the business’ with Williams

Asked about his predictions for 2019, Formula 1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn has praised Max Verstappen, saying he expects big things from the Red Bull driver next season.  

Verstappen has been touted as a 2019 title challenger by Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and Brawn agrees that the 21-year-old is “world champion material”.

In an interview with F1.com, Brawn said: “It’s easy to forget how young he is. If you think of yourself at that age, with the exposure and pressure, what he is doing is pretty special. What we are seeing with Max is a great maturing of his approach, losing none of his speed and aggression but just being a bit more tempered in terms of how he attacks things. In the right car and right team, he’s world champion material for sure.”

Brawn also picked out world champion Hamilton, describing his year as “exceptional” and saying the British driver was “probably as good as I’ve ever seen him”.

Hamilton says he’s proud of Stevenage

While Lewis Hamilton has received plaudits for his title-winning performances on the track he has found himself embroiled in a row about his home town of Stevenage.

The 33-year-old finished in second place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year public vote on Sunday. While on stage he said that F1 had given him and his family an opportunity to “get out of the slums”.

The BBC reports that Hamilton’s comments met with a backlash. Sharon Taylor, the leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said it was “disappointing” and people felt “very offended”.

Hamilton has since clarified his comments, saying he chose the “wrong words”. In an Instagram video, he said: “I’m super-proud of where I’ve come from and I hope that you know that I represent in the best way that I can always and nobody’s perfect.

“I definitely make mistakes quite often and particularly when you’re up in front of a crowd trying to find the right words to express the long journey that you’ve had in life. I chose the wrong words. But I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Taylor thanked Hamilton for his apology and praised the five-time champion.

Russell says he has what it takes

Williams driver George Russell will be one of three Brits on the F1 grid next year alongside Mercedes ace Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris.  

It will be the 20-year-old’s first season in F1 and despite his rookie status he’s ready for the challenge.

Russell told Sky Sports: “I feel confident. I’ve come off the back of two amazing years and I’m ready for the challenge.

“Obviously I’m a rookie, I’m not going to go out there and do anything stupid. But I feel like this is my time and I’m ready to do the business.”

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