Max Verstappen says he respects Lewis Hamilton “a lot for what he has achieved in the sport, but that’s why I don’t really understand why we cannot really race like I’ve been doing with the others”.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s on-track battles in 2021 have often ended in a collision and sometimes even a crash.
Even in 2022, when they weren’t fighting for the title, the two drivers collided at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, and Verstappen received a five-second penalty.
In a talk with Motorsport, the Dutchman said he doesn’t understand why these clashes happen.
“I have to be careful what I’m saying here,” Verstappen said.
“But with everyone I’ve been fighting, it’s been really hard, aggressive battles and we never really came together. Somehow, with Lewis, it’s a different story. And I honestly don’t understand.
“Like, this year, okay we haven’t really had a lot of battles. But Brazil we got together. It was not my intention [to crash].
“I got the blame for it, which I didn’t find fair. If it would’ve been more of a racing incident, that I could live with.
“But I don’t understand. Maybe it’s just a generation thing, that we understand each other better, we are racing nicer to each other. I don’t get it.
“But I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different to Lewis or to the other drivers in terms of how we’re racing.
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“Because the day before [in Brazil] with George [Russell], we were having an incredible [battle], closing the door, defending, out-braking each other.
“That was a lot of fun and I was trying to do the same in the main race, having that kind of battle. But, unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to work.”
Verstappen also said he could receive criticism in the UK for these comments.
“In England, this [comment on Hamilton] can very quickly be received as criticism and then I’m being called out on it.
“I always respect Lewis a lot for what he has achieved in the sport, but that’s why I don’t really understand why we cannot really race like I’ve been doing with the others.
“Of course, everyone is different in their approach. I know that Charles [Leclerc] is a bit different to George, or to Carlos [Sainz] or to Checo [Perez], or whoever.
“I do have to be a little bit more careful with that because immediately it’s really taken as criticism. And then people start to hate on you.
“Well, that’s not my intention,” Max concluded.