2021 has brought us the closest leading battles in Formula 1 that we have witnessed since 2018. Now, Red Bull looks strong, and with Max Verstappen on top form, the Austrian team is on the championship fight with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, and of course, every single day that goes on with racing is just one more chance to continue with the narrative of the rivalry between the 23-year-old and the current World Champion.
On the media day for the Monaco GP, both Hamilton and Verstappen were asked how they were handling the close-on-track battles they have had so far considering the aggressive driving that each one has had to show, to get ahead of the other.
“I don’t know, I think I’ve done well to avoid all of the incidents so far. We’ve got 19 more to go, and we could connect. Hopefully not,” Hamilton said.
“I think the good thing is, I think there is a nice, balanced amount of respect between us. I think perhaps, as you know, he feels perhaps he has a lot to prove. I’m not necessarily in the same boat there.”
“And I’m more long-term, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, sort of mentality. Which is ultimately why I have the stats that I have. I’ll continue with that, and I’ll do everything to make sure that we avoid connecting.”
Making notice of the comments made about the championship fight by the whole grid –including personalities that assure Hamilton and Verstappen are about to clash any moment at the season- the Red Bull’ driver was quick to answer and stated that he has nothing to prove and that spreading crashes’ rumors rather than tense but clean on-track battles, is purely bad sensationalism.
"Nope, I have nothing to prove," Verstappen said. "And avoiding contact, I think it goes both ways. So we have done well, that's true.”
"But yeah, we race hard, we avoided the contact both sides. So let's hope we can keep doing that and keep being on track and racing hard against each other. I honestly don't know what to say any more about these things," Verstappen added.
"We never try to crash, do we? It's just to make a few interesting headlines like that.”
"I guess it will have a bit more viewers when you say it's a matter of time, and then instead of saying we had some great races so far. People will of course click that more."
With four races onto the championship, The British driver has now a 14-points advantage (94 to 80 points respectively) over the Dutchman counting 3 wins over 1 from Max Verstappen, and Lewis Hamilton concluded by certainly saying that he’s got everything to go for that 8th title.
“I think every year, your goal is to extract absolutely everything. There’s never a year where you arrive, whether you have two-tenths, half a second, negative or to you, you’re never like, I’m going to give a little bit less.”
“Every year you give absolutely everything, and sometimes, things don’t go as planned. You can be distracted by certain things. You don’t capitalize on opportunities, you may not be always as complete as you like.”
“This year, that’s not necessarily the case. It started out the way I wanted. I’ve adjusted to the whole disruption of the pandemic, how to maximize.”
“I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, as I’ve had more time naturally to train and to work on the mental side and understanding the car.
“I think it’s just overall, I’ve raised the bar within myself, and that’s our goal as a team in order to do that.”
Free practice sessions are set to take place tomorrow Thursday 20th as usual in the Principality. Qualifying is up to Saturday at 15:00 track time.