F1 journalist Mark Hughes says “it means something” to Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton is “being recognised as the number one and the record holder”.
Many observers have noted that Max Verstappen seems to be racing much less aggressively against Charles Leclerc this year, than he did against Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
F1 journalist Mark Hughes thinks that’s definitely the case.
“You saw it as early as Bahrain, the first race, where they were passing and repassing and Max was giving him room,” Hughes said on Motor Sport Magazine’s podcast.
“That’s just not how he races Lewis. It’s a difficult one because Lewis sometimes gives him room and sometimes thinks, ‘no’.
“Brazil [2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix] was one of those occasions [when Lewis said] ‘I know what you’re trying to do and you’re not going to do it’, and Max was saying, ‘I know what you’re going to do and I’m coming through anyway’.
“They’re both entitled to do that, they’re both racing drivers and I don’t think there’s any blame there.
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“There’s a choice and maybe it’s not the wisest of choices that each of them makes, but that’s just racing and however you play against one opposition you can play differently against a different opponent.
“It was the first time Lewis had to go wheel to wheel against Max in a reprise of 2021 and I do think, because it didn’t really matter, he was determined to lay a marker down for next year saying, ‘the answer’s still no’.
“And Max is saying ‘it’s still Lewis Hamilton’.”
Hughes adds that the reason Verstappen is so aggressive with Hamilton, is because he can see Lewis is being recognized as the best.
“It means something that [Hamilton is] being recognised as the number one and the record holder.
“Those things mean something to Max because he feels he’s the best driver out there and he wants to prove it and keep proving it.
“He does race Lewis differently to others,” the Briton concluded.