Lewis Hamilton has been told to change his racing style if he wants to beat Max Verstappen in 2022. The new Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend and Red Bull Racing have been hailed as the favourites after a strong pre-season test.

It is no secret that Verstappen favours an aggressive approach to racing. The Dutchman bows down to nobody and is not one to back down while scrapping with another driver for position during a race. Hamilton has learnt his lesson the hard way with more than one on-track collision with the Red Bull driver, not only in 2021, but also in previous seasons.

Hamilton has always stated that he takes extra precaution while fighting Verstappen, as he is aware that he will have to back down to avoid collision - the 2021 Italian GP showed what happens when he does not. However, Sky Sports pundit and ex-F1 racer Martin Brundle feels the Mercedes driver will now have to play Verstappen at his own game and get his "elbows out" while racing in 2022.

"I think Lewis will come back with more determination than ever and I think he's going to have to get his elbows out with Max," Brundle told Sky Sports F1. "In the end, Max's aggressive driving won him the world championship as far as I'm concerned."

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

"Everybody is going to have to play Max at his own game if they want to beat him. Mercedes and Lewis will be energised by that, but they're going to have to go racing in a different and more aggressive way and play the same game - because Max isn't going to change."

Meanwhile, as for the pecking order going into the start of the season, Brundle does feel that Red Bull are ahead of the chasing pack. However, the former F1 driver is certain that Mercedes were "sandbagging" and overstating their lack of competitiveness.

The 62-year-old believes the Red Bull team are out front on raw pace, but the Ferrari looks the most driveable of the lot. The British commentator is also certain that the reigning Constructors' champions will not be far away from the currently predicted top two when the lights go out in Bahrain on Sunday.

"I'm pretty certain Mercedes were sandbagging but the car looked a bit of a handful so I can't help but think it's Red Bull from Ferrari," he said. "The Red Bull just on raw pace, while the Ferrari looked very benign and very driveable which might come in extremely handy on race day. I think Mercedes will be very close to them."

Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and George Russell (right) pose alongside Mercedes chief Toto Wolff Steve Etherington/MERCEDES-BENZ via AFP