Max Verstappen wished at the end of the year that Lewis Hamilton would stay well in Formula 1, after the disappointment of Abu Dhabi.
But the Dutchman doesn’t want to give too much importance to his No.1 rival and he urges other rising F1 stars to come and join him in the battle against Hamilton.
The Dutchman became the first driver since Nico Rosberg in 2016 to beat the world champion and snatch his title. The duo outperformed all the other drivers head and shoulders, including their teammates, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.
The new regulations for 2022 provide an opportunity for Ferrari, McLaren and possibly even Alpine F1 to create cars capable of winning multiple races.
« Lewis is 36 now, so maybe he has a few years left, hopefully a few more years with me, » explains Verstappen.
« I hope, of course, that he stays in the sport a little longer and that we can have more battles. But I also hope that other young people will be there. Because I hope that with the new rules, more teams will be more competitive, that we will all have a fight against him as well. «
« He is a seven-time world champion and it was a pleasure to race against him in particular. But F1 is renewing itself and everyone is aware of it. »
Mercedes F1, however, has focused a tremendous amount of effort on 2022, perhaps more than Red Bull. The German team has indeed revealed that it has spent no tokens (therefore no resources in money and time) on its 2021 single-seater.
When asked if Mercedes would be like a « wounded animal » and react strongly to the loss of the drivers’ title, Verstappen smiles and recalls what a « Red Bull » is.
« You know, an injured red bull is also very strong! We’ll see. But luckily, I’m not injured. »
« I don’t work thinking like that, because then you have a bad attitude in general. If that makes you work harder, then you weren’t working hard enough before that. We, as a ‘team, I think we’re still working hard – it doesn’t matter if you lose or win. «
« I don’t know how Mercedes works. At least I know from experience that if I lost it wouldn’t make me work harder because I’m already working the same way, winning or not winning. »