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Hamilton happy to race in an era of 'such great young talent'

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Lewis Hamilton says he's happy to be up against Formula 1's impressive youth, pointing to the age gap which exists between himself and Max Verstappen, his nearest challenger on Sunday.

The 32-year-old and veteran of 204 Grands Prix pulled out all the stops to keep his 20-year-old rival at bay in the closing stages of the Japanese GP.

"I was driving down the back straight at one point and I'm thinking 'Jeez, the guy behind me is so much younger than me, I've got make sure I kind of man up and show my age and make sure that I stay ahead, show that I'm actually still very young at heart,'" Hamilton explained with a dose of humor in yesterday's post-race media conference.

Sitting alongside the day's winner, Verstappen mischievously chimed in: "I was thinking 'this guy's so old in front of me.'"

Beyond the light banter, both men clearly feel a sense of respect for each other, but Hamilton isn't inclined to pass on the baton just yet.

"I am enjoying being in an era with such great young talent coming through," said the Mercedes driver.

"He'll be here far beyond after I stop. But until then, I will try and not give him too many poles or too many wins."

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