Max Verstappen says he ‘prefers’ F1 rivalry with Charles Leclerc to battle with Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen controversially beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 World Championship after a season-long battle; Charles Leclerc is Verstappen’s nearest challenger this season; Watch Observe Three and Hungarian GP Qualifying stay on Sky Sports activities F1 from 11:45am on Saturday

Final Up to date: 29/07/22 9:29pm

Max Verstappen says that he prefers the challenge of Charles Leclerc compared to his main rival last season Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen says that he prefers the problem of Charles Leclerc in comparison with his most important rival final season Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen says that he prefers the problem of Charles Leclerc in comparison with his most important rival final season Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen says he “prefers” his rivalry with Ferrari and Charles Leclerc to the World Championship battle he had with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes final season.

Pink Bull’s Verstappen emerged victorious over Hamilton after a controversial finish to an intense season-long battle between them, which noticed a number of flashpoints each on and off the observe.

With Mercedes off the tempo this season, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has emerged as the most important menace to 24-year-old Verstappen retaining his title, with the pair having engaged in a number of wheel-to-wheel contests through the first half of the season.

In contrast to final season, there was little to no proof of unhealthy feeling between Ferrari and Pink Bull, though the 63-point lead Verstappen has opened up forward of this weekend’s Hungarian GP has maybe helped to diffuse the early-season stress that was constructing between the groups and drivers.

Chatting with Sky Italy, Verstappen stated: “I want what now we have now as a result of, initially, Charles I do know very effectively, he is a pleasant man, we’re an analogous age – I believe we’re solely three weeks aside.

Leclerc came out on top after another dramatic battle with Verstappen in Austria.

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Leclerc got here out on prime after one other dramatic battle with Verstappen in Austria.

Leclerc got here out on prime after one other dramatic battle with Verstappen in Austria.

“I believe additionally we’re combating a really well-respected competitor when it comes to Ferrari. The best way they go about the best way we’re combating… once they win a race we are able to go to them and say effectively finished, and once we win a race they will say effectively finished, and I actually respect that.”

Verstappen pointed to a particular instance of the camaraderie between the Pink Bull and Ferrari camps, explaining that he had skilled an fulfilling alternate with the Italian workforce’s principal, Mattia Binotto, throughout dinner on Saturday night time finally weekend’s French GP.

“Additionally, sure folks inside the workforce, even Mattia, I’ve a extremely good relationship with him,” Verstappen stated.

Relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Hamilton and Verstappen last season.

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Relive a number of the most intense tussles on observe between Hamilton and Verstappen final season.

Relive a number of the most intense tussles on observe between Hamilton and Verstappen final season.

“On Saturday night time, we even had fun in Paul Ricard, and I believe that is nice as a result of that is what racing ought to be about. We’re onerous opponents on the observe and we’ll at all times attempt to beat one another, which I believe may be very regular, however outdoors of it you may have a very good time as effectively, and that is what I actually get pleasure from about this 12 months.

“As an example it like this, I’d not be on a desk on Saturday night time having fun with (Mercedes).”

Requested why it was so totally different to final 12 months’s scenario, Verstappen added: “Simply the press now we have in the meanwhile with the workforce, and I’ve a whole lot of respect for Ferrari on the whole.”

Herbert ‘perplexed’ by Verstappen feedback

Sky Sports activities F1’s Johnny Herbert stated that the best way Verstappen had dismissed seven-time world champion Hamilton was “disappointing”.

“(It was) disappointing truly in lots of respects,” Herbert stated.

Verstappen is able to hold off the surging Leclerc after the restart.

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Verstappen is ready to maintain off the surging Leclerc after the restart.

Verstappen is ready to maintain off the surging Leclerc after the restart.

“He appears to type of simply dismissed Lewis immediately, after which he was straight onto Charles and Ferrari the battle they’re having.

“I assumed he was having fun with the battle they had been having on observe (final season), however clearly there, he wasn’t having fun with it in any respect.

“However I do not perceive why his feedback can be so damaging in direction of Lewis and the battle that that they had final 12 months. I am fairly perplexed.”

‘It is not about Verstappen eager to drive for Ferrari’

Sky Sports activities F1’s Karun Chandhok dismissed the suggestion that Verstappen’s feedback might have mirrored a want to drive for Ferrari sooner or later sooner or later.

“I do not suppose it is about that,” Chandhok stated. “I do not suppose he is pondering of that even. He is simply pondering of the very fact he is having a respectful battle together with his opponents, and so they’re battling onerous on observe however they respect one another off it.

A young Verstappen and Leclerc argue during their karting days, with the pair now forming one of the biggest rivalries during the current F1 season.

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A younger Verstappen and Leclerc argue throughout their karting days, with the pair now forming one of many largest rivalries through the present F1 season.

A younger Verstappen and Leclerc argue throughout their karting days, with the pair now forming one of many largest rivalries through the present F1 season.

“I believe he is being truthful, is not he? He is having fun with the battle this 12 months, he is relishing the on-track battle.

“He is racing wheel-to-wheel in another way with Charles as he did to Lewis. As he rightly stated, he and Charles have identified one another a very long time, they’ve grown up collectively, they’re of the identical technology.

“Actually, it is his private feeling. We’re all not buddies with the entire broad world. You get together with sure folks, you have got a relationship and a bond with sure folks and also you create a mutual respect out of friendship with sure folks.

“I do not suppose it is mistaken that he’s nearer buddies with folks at Ferrari or with Charles than he’s with Lewis or folks at Mercedes. That is simply their personalities and their characters.”

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