Max Verstappen has refuted any suggestion that he and Lewis Hamilton have a “difficult relationship”, despite the number of incidents between the pair over the years. A rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton had been on ground for several seasons before their epic battle in 2021.
The Dutchman had been riling up several drivers on the grid with his aggressive driving style, causing collisions on occasion. Hamilton was one of several drivers to speak out against Verstappen’s driving with the Red Bull star defending his actions repeatedly.
And that rivalry exploded into life in the 2021 season with both Verstappen and Hamilton locked in a historic title battle. The pair came to blows on more than one occasion – both on the track and in the media pen with comments about one another.
But Verstappen appears to have let bygones be bygones when asked to describe his relationship with Hamilton on the F1 grid. While accepting the two are polar opposites, Verstappen felt compelled to describe his rival as “one of the greatest drivers ever” and refuted any suggestion of their relationship being soured from the 2021 title battle.
“I don’t think we have a difficult relationship at all,” he told the Daily Mail. “It is quite straightforward. It’s just that with others you have a closer relationship.
“It depends to an extent on how you live your life, and perhaps we are not similar in that regard. Of course, we had a big rivalry in 2021 but ultimately we do have a lot of respect for each other.
“He is definitely up there as one of the greatest drivers ever. I have no need or desire to deny that. Consistency is his key, and staying on top of his game.
Verstappen is now on his own quest to catch up to Hamilton’s seven world championships. The 25-year-old is embarking on his own era of dominance in F1 having won back-to-back world titles and is favourite to add a third in the 2023 season.