Lewis Hamilton has denied rumors he has a problem with Max Verstappen, a driver the seven-time world champion « respects ».
The 2021 Formula 1 season has seen the outbreak of a rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, with the two drivers battling hard throughout the year to claim the world title. Their multiple clashes on the track and tackles off the tarmac during this season have fueled the idea of a highly difficult relationship, however Hamilton explained that this was not the case.
In an interview with Formula 1 magazine, the seven-time World Champion spoke about « fiction » to qualify his alleged enmity towards the Dutchman. « People like to say that there are problems between Max and me »he commented, before affirming: « I respect him. He’s a lot younger so maybe he has a problem with me. But I’m not sure and I actually imagine not, although I can’t speak for him. . »
Regarding the 2021 season, a campaign that the Dutchman finally won after a last incredible Grand Prix and having left a huge scar in the Mercedes garage, Hamilton feels no resentment. « He did everything he needed to do in 2021, so why would I have a problem with him? He performed and delivered on every weekend, nobody can take that away from him. »he concluded.
For his part, Verstappen also expressed his respect for Hamilton, even after a new incident between the two men: at the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix, the #1 and the #44 had clashed, the stewards then rejected the fault on the Dutchman and imposed a five-second penalty on him. Not enough to upset the double World Champion, even if he still struggles to understand why accidents happen more frequently when he fights Hamilton rather than another driver.
« This year, we didn’t fight much, but in Brazil, we hung on »he explained at the end of 2022 in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com. « It was not my intention. I was found guilty, which I did not find fair. […] It may just be a question of generation – we [les jeunes] we understand better, we race nicer with each other. »
« I still have a lot of respect for Lewis because of what he’s achieved in F1, but that’s why I don’t really understand why we can’t really race like I did with all the others. Of course, everyone has a different approach. »