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Lewis Hamilton. Photo/TEAMTALK MEDIA

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Hamilton ready for Verstappen battle

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 10 – Lewis Hamilton revealed he is looking forward to battling with Max Verstappen for the 2020 driver’s championship.

Racing to the victory last time out at the British Grand Prix, Hamilton had a comfortable Sunday afternoon that meant he took a 30-point lead in the Drivers’ standings.

He said at the time: “I’m a through and through racer at heart. I’ve grown up, particularly when you’re in karting, you’ve got the wheel to wheel racing, that’s what has always excited me, that’s what gets me up in the morning.

“This is not the championship fight I would have hoped for. I’d much, much prefer to be having a super close battle with these two here (Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc) because that’s what gets me going.

“I really, really hope in the future it’s closer.”

One week later and Hamilton got his wish.

In a race dominated by tyre wear, it was Verstappen who emerged victorious as he ended Mercedes’ run of four-successive race wins.

The Dutchman used an alternate strategy, starting on the hard tyres, to come from fourth on the grid to win the race by 11 seconds over Hamilton.

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Rather than be upset, the Brit has applauded Verstappen’s victory.

“It’s great that Max won,” said Hamilton. “As I said before I want to have races and a challenge.

“Obviously the Red Bull seems to be quite close to us in race conditions, but that’s a good thing, and it will be interesting to see their progression through the rest of the year.

“I definitely will not overlook them. We will keep a close eye on them. It’s not going to be easy by any means. I don’t think my team has that mentality anyway.

“And maybe in the future we will get to have a bit more of a race.”

Sunday’s result, though, didn’t change Hamilton’s advantage at the top of the standings.

The six-time World Champion is still 30 points ahead of his nearest rival, that, though, is now Verstappen with Valtteri Bottas slipping to third.

“It’s amazing. It’s been a life goal, obviously as a little kid, kind of watching everyone grow up, all these professionals, and this is always what I’ve wanted to do,” Morikawa said. “I felt very comfortable from the start.

“As an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special,” added Morikawa, who grew up in Los Angeles but went to college at Berkeley in San Francisco.

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“It was going to take a very, very good round today, and I knew with the leaderboard the way it was looking and everyone out there, you just had to play well.”

Third round leader Dustin Johnson had to settle for a tie for second with England’s Paul Casey. Johnson shot a 68 and Casey closed with a 66 to reach 11-under 269.

Jason Day, Matthew Wolff, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler all finished in a tie for fourth, three shots adrift of Morikawa.

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