Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen revealed his fear seeing Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle in 2021.
Hamilton and Verstappen rivalled each other for the world championship. Verstappen aimed to win his first one and Hamilton his eighth. It was an intense all-consuming affair that went to the last lap of the last race of the season.
Throughout the year, the two drivers stopped at nothing to get ahead of the other. It naturally resulted in some tussles, collisions and crashes, with two impactful ones occurring at Silverstone and Monza.
Hakkinen revealed his fear seeing Hamilton and Verstappen battle, and chided them for taking their safe cars for granted.
“Is it my style to do things that those two drivers did?” he told PA News, as quoted by Planet F1.
“Not really, it is not my style and that is because I had a very bad accident. I spent a lot of time in hospital and I know the pain when things go wrong.
“These two drivers, they don’t know that, so they do take risks, very heavy risks, and they rely a lot on the safety of the car and the safety of the track.”
Hate and respect
Verstappen commented on his clashes with Hamilton, saying it was all part of the competitive fire that was burning inside the pair.
“You look each other in the eye, you don’t say a lot but you do relate a lot and you really appreciate the fight,” he said.
“Sometimes we did hate each other, but that’s fine. That’s the competitive spirit of both of us. He is an incredible driver.
“Emotions run very high. It has done before, throughout the season, so I think that’s normal. What was nice was that immediately after the race (in Abu Dhabi), he came up to me. We had our moments throughout the year when we clashed but we really respect each other.
“We have pushed each other to the limit. Most of the time – all the racers – we were on the limit of what we could do, what the car could do,” he concluded.