Hamilton and Verstappen skilled a fierce rivalry by means of their combat for final yr’s F1 championship, going wheel-to-wheel at a variety of races that included a handful of collisions.
The primary main incident between the 2 drivers got here eventually yr’s British Grand Prix, the place they collided when battling for the lead at Copse on the opening lap of the race. The high-speed collision resulted in a 51G impression for Verstappen within the barrier, whereas Hamilton went on to win the race regardless of receiving a penalty for the incident.
The duo additionally collided at Monza, in addition to having run-ins in Brazil and Saudi Arabia forward of their showdown in Abu Dhabi the place Verstappen clinched the title on the ultimate lap of the race.
Following final week’s race at Silverstone the place he loved a side-by-side battle towards Leclerc at Copse, Hamilton referred to as the Ferrari driver “very smart” in an interview on Sky F1, including it was “clearly lots completely different to what we skilled final yr”.
Chatting with the Dutch media on Thursday on the Crimson Bull Ring, Verstappen was requested about Hamilton’s feedback and whether or not he thought Leclerc was a extra smart driver than he was.
“I feel it is fairly good that, at 37 years of age, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover ways to hit an apex,” Verstappen replied.
“He’s studying, so that’s constructive. Additionally it is good for youthful drivers to know that you’re nonetheless studying if you end up 37 years outdated.”
Pressed on what he thought when he heard Hamilton’s feedback, Verstappen reiterated his level that it was “good that he has discovered the apex now”.
The automobile of Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B, is returned to the storage on a truck beneath a tarpaulin
Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
“You’ll be able to clearly see within the footage what was completely different in comparison with final yr,” Verstappen stated.
“I feel Charles gave him much less area than I did final yr, so that claims all of it. And in the long run, [Lewis] was the one who received penalised final yr, so there is not any level speaking about that both.”
As Verstappen chases his second straight F1 title, the Dutchman sits 34 factors away from the sphere with six wins to his identify. By comparability, Hamilton is but to complete a race any increased than third this yr amid Mercedes’ struggles beneath the brand new rules.
Requested if he thought Hamilton’s feedback have been a part of the sport, Verstappen stated he thought they have been “a bit blunt”, however would have “no impact on my efficiency”.
“I simply have to focus on what we’re doing right here,” Verstappen stated. “I feel we’re doing fairly nicely this yr. That is what I am concentrating on.”