Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton dare to go to extremes in Formula 1 this season because they trust each other in the hand-to-man battles on the circuits. The two big rivals say in the run-up to the Grand Prix of Spain, in Barcelona on Sunday.
“Yes, it has been cool so far”, agrees Verstappen, who narrowly outshone Hamilton’s Mercedes several times during the first three races of the season with his Red Bull. “That is mainly because you are driving against a driver who you know you can push yourself to the limit. I think we can race hard because we trust each other.”
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who took his 97th GP victory in Portugal last Sunday, agrees with Verstappen. “Yes, that’s right,” the Briton readily admits. “It naturally comes down to respect. I think we both want to race very, very hard, but in a sporty way. That gives you great races, with great drivers. I think we’ll keep it tidy, but we’ll also keep racing on edge. But I don’t think either of us has any plans to get even closer with our cars than we have already been.”
Verstappen: “We have indeed been very ‘close’ to each other, but it was all factored in. Lewis never thought “, oh, now we’re going to crash”, or anything like that. I always have every confidence that we will leave each other enough room.”
Verstappen (23) will start his 100th Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing on Sunday. “To be honest, I didn’t know. It all happened very quickly. It seems like I’m getting old”, he jokes. “I enjoy my time with this team. The atmosphere is great, and everyone works with a lot of motivation and energy. We also get along very well outside the circuit and have a lot of fun. Hopefully, I will be part of this team for many years to come.”