Mercedes and Red Bull were part of a fierce battle for the Formula 1 championship last season. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen showcased one of the closest fought championships as they went to Abu Dhabi with equal points in the drivers’ standings for the decisive race of the season. Hamilton was leading the race in Abu Dhabi, and it looked like the Briton would have his eighth title. However, Max intervened after a late safety car allowed the Dutchman to get past Lewis during the final lap of the race. The two rival drivers did not have the best of relationship during the battle as they collided with each other on numerous occasions.
However, the tides turned completely this season, with Mercedes taking a backseat and Ferrari joining the part with Red Bull. The two leading outfits are battling at the front this season, while the Silver Arrows have found themselves in the middle of nowhere. Max Verstappen is battling with Charles Leclerc this season for his second championship title. However, the rivalry has not been as heated as it was last year with Max and Hamilton. The Dutchman currently has a comfortable 63 points lead over the Ferrari driver as the teams battle in Hungary this weekend for the 12th Grand Prix of the season.
Recently, Max Verstappen made a comparison between his battle with Leclerc and Hamilton over the course of the last two seasons. Talking to Sky Italia, the Red Bull driver said he would prefer what he has with Charles Leclerc currently. The Dutchman stated that he knows the Monegasque well as they are of the same age and were born three weeks apart. Moreover, Verstappen felt that his team is fighting a quite well-respected rival in Ferrari. The two teams congratulate each other when one of them wins, and he really respects that.
Verstappen Prefers Leclerc Rivalry Over Hamilton
Max Verstappen further said he has good relations with certain people in Ferrari, including the team principal Mattia Binotto. The 24-year-old revealed he and Mattia had a laugh last Saturday evening in Paul Ricard. The two teams are generally hard competitors on the track and try their best to beat each other. However, outside the track, the two teams could have a good time which is what Verstappen has really enjoyed this season. The Dutchman added, “Let’s say it is like this, I would not be on a table on Saturday night having a laugh with Mercedes.”
However, Sky Sports F1 expert Johnny Herbert was surprised by Max’s comments. The former British driver said last year’s rivalry should have been respectable too, but clearly, it was not. Herbert reckoned that the rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was disappointing in many aspects. Johnny felt Verstappen seemed to have dismissed Lewis straight away. But this season, he was straight onto Charles and Ferrari with the battle they are having. The Briton mentioned he did not understand why Max’s comments were so negative towards Lewis. Herbert concluded, “I thought he was enjoying the battle they were having on track. But clearly, he wasn’t enjoying it at all.”