Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has confessed that the battle with Charles Leclerc for the drivers’ championship this season is very compared to what he experienced with Lewis Hamilton last year.
While Verstappen has faced problems with the reliability of the Red Bull this season, he put on a sensational display to clinch victory in the second race held at the Jeddah circuit in Saudi Arabia.
Leclerc, meanwhile, has enjoyed victory in the other two races and admitted that while going up against Verstappen is challenging, it is “hard by fair” racing.
Last year was plagued with a number of altercations between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. This was accentuated with tensions flaring between the Mercedes and Red Bull bosses.
What did Verstappen say?
Verstappen spoke about what is different in going up against Leclerc.
“Every driver is different, in the way they attack or defend. That’s why you always have to go into the fight in a unique way,” Verstappen said.
“It feels natural to compete against drivers that I have competed against in the past in karts and have now come to F1.
“In particular Charles; it’s nice to see that we are two young guys competing for victories – we’ve fought some nice duels so far.
“I’m [also] happy that my friend [Carlos] Sainz is now driving a competitive Ferrari, after we made our debut together in 2015.”
Why did things turn sour with Hamilton last year?
With respect to how tensions flared with Hamilton last year, Verstappen was quick to address why there were some confrontations between them.
“I think in the fight between me and Hamilton, the conflict between Red Bull and Mercedes also played an important role,” said Verstappen.
“In addition to everything that happened during the championship, that also inspired the confrontation on the track.”
For Verstappen, being fearful on the track is not an option.
“Things don’t work when you have fear. I never thought about the risk of hurting myself. I was only focused on winning,” he said.
“I knew very well what to do and I didn’t need help from others. The experience gained from the previous years in F1 made sure that the best Max emerged.”