Hamilton, 36, may be coming towards the tail end of his career but he is not ready to pass the batton over to the young pup Verstappen, 23, just yet.
“Each year they are talking about when you’ve hit your peak and I’m trying to make sure that timing is everything,” Hamilton said.
“I think that I am at [my peak] and Max is also doing really well at the moment so it is going to take everything and more. We have to keep putting in performances like this.
“I love the challenge and still love what I do.”
“What a difficult race that was,” Hamilton added. “Stopping early we knew it was going to be difficult but we had to cover Max. They have had an amazing performance all weekend.
“We stopped for that last stint and trying to find the right balance at the end of the race is typical.
“Max was all over me right at the end but I just about managed to hold him off. It was one of the hardest races I’ve had for a while.”
“It was disappointing for sure,” the Finn said. “As a team we got good points but from my side, strategy wise, we were on the defensive instead of attacking. I am quite surprised and it is not normal.
“I also had a quite slow pit stop which took away any opportunities. It was good but I am disappointed.”
Verstappen said: “It’s a shame but you also have to see the positive. We are really taking the fight to them, and I think that’s great to start the year like that.
“Overall, we managed to finish the race and score good points.”