While the title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen got pretty intense back in 2021, the 2022 battle between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc appears to be a lot more subdued.
During a talk with Channel 4, Verstappen said he thinks the tensions between him and Hamilton were raised by their respective teams.
“I don’t think necessarily it was between the drivers,” the Dutch driver said.
“It was mainly because it’s a completely different approach between the teams last year and this year, and probably there was a bit more respect between the two teams as well this year.
“I think that helps a lot for sure, and I’ve known Charles for a longer time because we basically grew up together throughout racing and go karting, and all the way to Formula 1.
“But I always had [and] still have a lot of respect for Lewis and we always got on well, and also today, you know, as racing drivers, you know you come together but you also very quickly forget and just move on.
“The amount of times I’ve crashed with Charles in the past, but now we can laugh about it, so it just, you know racing drivers, they of course, look at themselves.
“We want to do everything we can to win a race and I think what is also the positive side about racing is that we can forget very quickly. We’ll just move on and just go to the next.
“Luckily, you also have a lot of races for that. But yeah, this year, it seems a little bit calmer, and I just hope it stays like that and you can just have a great race.”
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Verstappen also talked about his infamous collision with Hamilton at the 2021 British Grand Prix, which led to Max crashing into the barrier, while Lewis went on to win the race.
This led to Red Bull repeatedly blasting Hamilton and Mercedes for celebrating the win while Verstappen was in the hospital, even though he was there for precautionary checks and Mercedes was already told that he was unhurt.
“A lot of points lost, a lot of damage as well to the car and I lost an engine,” Verstappen explained.
“So that eventually also gave me an engine penalty, you know, so there were a lot of consequences with that crash.
“At the time I thought, it’s not really personal, I just didn’t like the way the team mainly was celebrating it and things they were saying. Not my team, it was the other team.
“I don’t think it would have happened like that anyway, but yeah, I think it would have been a bit weird to celebrate like that,” he added when asked if he would have done anything differently this time around.
“But anyway, you know, I could talk about it forever. I think at the time it was not nice but again, you know, we were very motivated and fuelled for the rest of the season to give it everything we had because it was the first opportunity to really fight for a championship.
“And we were in good spirits even with that with that crash, you know. We rebuilt the car, we have the best mechanics out there and we go for it again,” Verstappen concluded.