LEWIS HAMILTON will enter his 300th race at the French Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton has brutally aimed two digs at rival Max Verstappen, including failing to name the Red Bull ace as one of the top drivers. The Briton shared a tense battle with Verstappen for the 2021 world championship and missing out on a record eighth title to the Dutchman clearly still hurts.

Lewis Hamilton was infamously denied the world championship last year, with Verstappen benefitting from a contentious decision from race control at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But the pair also clashed several times throughout the campaign and their battle became heated.

Lewis Hamilton

Ahead of his 300th career race, Hamilton was asked to discuss his toughest competitors. The Mercedes icon reflected on his time at McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso but made no mention of Verstappen.

Hamilton endured a tough start to his career as he battled with team-mate Alonso. “It is difficult to say who has been the strongest competitor because every time you are against someone you are in a different place in your life,” he said.

“I remember being alongside Fernando when I was 22. I was so young mentally. There was pressure going up against a great like him. And in terms of pure pace I would say Fernando (was the best). We had good battles. I wish we could have some more.”

Lewis Hamilton then aimed another dig at Verstappen as he unfavourably compared the 24-year-old with his fight against Charles Leclerc at the British Grand Prix in early July. He had crashed with Verstappen at Silverstone a year earlier and appeared to suggest that Leclerc was more ‘sensible’ as the pair battled for third.

“Charles fought a great battle,” Hamilton said before firing shots at Verstappen. “Charles is a very sensible driver — clearly a lot different from what I experienced last year.”

Hamilton will enter a race for the 300th time at the French Grand Prix this weekend. However, none of the five other drivers to have also achieved that feat have won a Grand Prix after surpassing the milestone.

Among his best memories is Hamilton’s very first Grand Prix in 2007: “The whole realisation of reaching your dream is a very, very surreal experience, it is always going to be your first, there’s only one first.

“Just getting to that first Grand Prix in 2007, the amount of sleepless nights as a family all of us had had not knowing if we would reach our dream but never giving up nonetheless and being there, that will probably be the real highlight.”

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