Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen (R) and Lewis Hamilton (L) have the most heated rivalry in F1 today. AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton stamped his authority over fierce rival Max Verstappen at least when it comes to being at the wheel of a high-performance Mercedes. A recently-released video shows the Briton taking a $170,000 (£133.8k) Mercedes AMG GT out for a day of testing during the ongoing winter break.

Incidentally, Verstappen was recently reported to have tried to rent a similar vehicle in Portugal, only to be denied by the rental company due to his age and the terms of their insurance policy.

After Verstappen failed to get behind the wheel of the stunning Mercedes, Hamilton took the opportunity to show off what the car is all about. Of course, the test drive may have nothing to do with the Verstappen incident, and it may all simply be a coincidence. However, it is quite hilarious for fans of both sides to see the Mercedes ace behind the wheel of the car that the reigning champion was reportedly trying to drive very recently.

Hamilton gushes over the Mercedes AMG GT

Hamilton took the wheel of a Mercedes AMG GT 63 4MATIC+ about two weeks ago and went for a spin around the track at Immendingen, near Danube, Germany.

He was accompanied by a co-pilot, who filmed an entire hot lap to capture the F1 star's reactions in real time. Hamilton sounded extremely excited to be driving the brand new high-performance offering from the German carmaker, which is in stark contrast to how he often sounds while speaking about his Mercedes F1 car in recent years.

It is no secret that Hamilton tried to stay positive throughout the 2022 and 2023 seasons, but the dismal performance of his Mercedes often led to a lot of frustration. He has now been winless for two straight seasons while Red Bull has been increasingly dominant.

At certain points particularly during the 2022 campaign, Hamilton sounded like he simply wanted to park his car on the side of the track and escape his misery. The car became slightly more competitive in 2023, allowing them to edge out Scuderia Ferrari in the Constructors' standings, but the gap to Red Bull became even wider.

In other words, it has been a long time since Hamilton has been delighted to be driving a Mercedes, and his day out with the AMG GT was a breath of fresh air. He managed to get it to a top speed of 137 miles per hour, which is nearly 220 kilometers per hour.

In the video, while accelerating through the track, Hamilton said: "It's got great power, feels great over the kerbs, super responsive, you know. Such a nice balance on the way in. Nice and smooth in the steering. It's got great power, power delivery is really strong. It's got a lot of power this thing. The balance on the way in is so nice, so smooth."

Why did Verstappen miss out?

Earlier this month, reports came out that rental company Styx denied three-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen the chance to rent and drive a Mercedes AMG GT in Portugal. He had been on holiday with friends and family at the Algarve, where they rented a race track for a fun adrenaline-filled day.

However, when Verstappen chose the Mercedes, staff at the rental company's office said that he was too young to be allowed to rent it. Apparently, their insurance company does not allow customers below 30 years old to rent high-performance vehicles.

Of course, Verstappen, 26, is more than capable of handling such powerful machinery, but the policy did not have a clause for racing champions and the employees simply followed established protocol. Verstappen decided to follow the rules and rented a BMW instead.

Styx later issued an apology and stated that Verstappen can come back to rent whichever vehicle he wants in the future. Based on Hamilton's review, it seems like Verstappen certainly had his eye on some impressive machinery. However, he won't likely be inclined to swap his Red Bull for a Mercedes on the F1 track.