David Coulthard believes Max Verstappen has “got in the psyche of Hamilton” in 2021.
Verstappen and Hamilton contested an epic duel for the world championship. The Dutchman trumped his more illustrious counterpart on the last lap of the last race of the season, and became the new F1 World Champion.
Fans were treated to many wheel-to-wheel battles between the pair. A common theme anyone could see was the Red Bull driver darting into any possible opening he could find, sometimes smartly and sometimes recklessly.
Nevertheless, the seven-time world champion would often ease off in order to prevent a coming together while his younger opponent went all guns blazing every time. It was an interesting contrast, and one that threw up a lot of narratives.
Coulthard, however, believes that Verstappen “got in the psyche of Hamilton” with his style of driving.
“He’s brilliant and divisive. Who else do we know that’s brilliant and divisive? Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, to name but a few. So some have been able to do it.
“In fairness to Lewis, he’s been able to win an amazing amount of championships in a very clean way. He hasn’t really had too much controversy.
“With the might of Mercedes and Lewis, Max has had to arguably come with a different approach. His approach is, whenever there is a door partially open, he’ll go for it.
“And Lewis has to keep opening up the door because he knows he’s coming and that’s got in the psyche of Lewis.”
“Max has had to fight for it and has been a winner all the way through, skipping some of the lower formulas to come into Formula 1,” Coulthard continued.
“He fears nobody. That’s not a part of his psyche. The thing that I find most impressive is, if there’s a gap, he goes for it. There’s not even a doubt.
“When I was racing, I used to weigh up ‘should I risk it now, should I not risk it’. He just goes for it. It really is quite special.”