Max Verstappen has explained his relationship with Lewis Hamilton, saying that although there have been nervy moments, it is a respectful dynamic.
Verstappen is contesting a title rivalry with Hamilton, and like most rivalries in F1, it has been tense and hard. Both drivers have been caught up in controversy over the course of the season, including crashing into each other twice.
The Dutchman currently leads his British counterpart by 12 points. It has been a fierce rivalry, and the nature of it is such that even that lead is not safe at all.
Verstappen explained his relationship with Hamilton, and said that it is exactly the sort of relationship two competitors should be sharing.
In an interview with The Gentleman’s Journal, Verstappen said, “It’s good. I mean, we’re how competitors should be.
“We’re not exactly going to have dinner together but that’s fine. You have that competitive spirit and we always try to beat each other on track, but also try to respect each other off track as well. So far there have been some tense moments, but overall it’s been alright.
“I know I’m in that (title) fight, but it’s more about trying to maximise every single weekend to try and gain more of an advantage. That’s what we’re really focused on at the moment.
“I’m not much of a dreamer, so I don’t really think about Abu Dhabi (the season finale) too much yet. I just go step by step, and race by race to try and get the most possible points, every time.”
Leaps and bounds
The 24-year-old Verstappen has never won a championship before. He debuted in the sport seven years ago, but revealed that he would have challenged sooner if he had the knowledge he does now.
“I think for my age, at the time, I was very experienced. I felt ready,” he continued.
“Of course, looking back at it now, if I had the experience I have now, I would probably do things a little bit differently, but that’s normal.
“What do you expect when you’re 17? You have to make mistakes; you have to learn. I had only done one year in racing outside of karts — in F3 — so it was a natural learning curve to go through.”