Max Verstappen speaks on the respect he has for Lewis Hamilton and winning the F1 title against him as the Brit concurs on the racing side of 2021.
While the shenanigans happened on and off track during the course of the 2021 F1 season, the drivers maintained a cordial relation if not the ‘best of friends’ situation. They did have their off moment whether it was racing wheel-to-wheel or in the media enclosure.
But the respect was maintained all-through, even looking at the gesture from Mercedes’ Hamilton to congratulate Red Bull’s Verstappen after a chaotic and controversial end in Abu Dhabi. The Brit hasn’t spoken since and hasn’t even shared anything on social media too.
This has led to speculations about the Brit’s F1 future, but it doesn’t seem like the case with Mercedes seemingly ready to go for the new era. For Verstappen, he joins the rare league of drivers who has managed to win a world championship against Hamilton.
Nico Rosberg was the last to do so which also was no less tense than 2021. Considering the effort that the German had to put in to take on Hamilton, it is no less a feat when one achieves the target. Verstappen was pleased that he could do so against a driver like him.
“I have a lot of respect for Lewis,” said Verstappen. “I’m just very happy that I won in general because it was, of course, a very tough season fighting against Mercedes and Lewis but I don’t want to sound arrogant or whatever to say.
“It’s a great satisfaction to win against him and I just have a lot of respect for him, as a driver and I know he’s an amazing driver in terms of what he has achieved but I’m just very happy that we won it. Last year, I think we have been pushing each other, certainly in some races, to the limit.
“We have been really basically trying to get everything out of our cars, tyres, to the last lap, to the last corner and that’s very exciting, especially when it’s been between two teams as well, because when it’s teammates always a bit different, but when two teams fighting you have different strategies you don’t know about, preparation, so it has been really enjoyable for most of the time.
“That’s normal in a championship and yeah, of course, in 10, 20 years’ time, people will look back at it and even myself and you will remember this year, for sure,” summed up Verstappen, when he was asked about winning against Hamilton and the respect he has for the Brit as a champion and as a driver.
Hamilton kinda agreed with Verstappen about the racing he could do in 2021 especially against the Dutchman and Red Bull making it a team vs team fight, which he always yearns for. “Well said,” he started. “I agree fully. It has been an incredible year, an amazing battle and I’m grateful that I’ve had such a close battle with Max and his team.
“I think they’ve done an exceptional job and shown true strength and so it’s pushed us to the limit in ways that we needed and we, I think, have grown stronger as a team in ways we didn’t know that we could grow and yeah, it’s been amazing. I hope that we have many more seasons like this,” summed up Hamilton.
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