British journalist ‘perplexed’ by Max Verstappen’s comments about Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton shared a tense rivalry last season.

Former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert took not too kindly to Max Verstappen’s comments about Sir Lewis Hamilton after the pair’s tense rivalry last season.

Verstappen and Hamilton went hell for leather last year as they won 18 of the 22 races between them, and there were plenty of controversial moments.

They notably came together in Silverstone, Monza and Saudi Arabia, while the Dutchman appeared to push Hamilton straight off the circuit in Brazil.

Their battles were certainly aggressive, but their relationship did not become as personal as the one between their respective Red Bull and Mercedes teams, and therein lies the issue.

Hamilton and Verstappen in Abu Dhabi 2021.v1

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Christian Horner and Toto Wolff engaged in a lot of petulant bickering over the course of the season, creating a destructive and toxic relationship between the sides.

Red Bull battled Ferrari between 2010 and 2013 as Sebastian Vettel claimed four consecutive championships, and Horner always had a healthy relationship with then Ferrari boss, and now Formula 1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali.

That trend has continued this year as Verstappen battles Charles Leclerc for the title this season and, after beating Hamilton to the title in controversial fashion in Abu Dhabi last year, he revealed previously that he has a better relationship with Ferrari than he does with Mercedes.

“For sure, but I prefer what we have now,” he told Sky Sports when asked if he was involved in a generational fight with Hamilton last season.

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“First of all, Charles, I know very well, he’s a nice guy, we are a similar age, we’re only three weeks apart.

“Also, we are fighting a very well-respected competitor in terms of Ferrari. 

“When they win a race, we can go to them and say ‘well done’, and when we win a race they can say ‘well done’ – I really respect that.”

Perhaps dissimilarly to Wolff, the 24-year-old also holds a strong rapport with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

“And certain people within the team… Mattia and I have a really good relationship with him. Even on Saturday night, we had a laugh in Paul Ricard [at the French Grand Prix].

“That’s great because I think that’s what racing should be about, we are hard competitors on the track but outside of it, you can have a good time as well. That’s what I really enjoy about this year.”

Verstappen could not quite describe why he is enjoying his time fighting Ferrari more than he enjoyed his battle against Mercedes, but he has a great deal of respect for the Scuderia.

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“I don’t know, it’s just the click we have at moment. I have a lot of respect for Ferrari in general. It’s nice,” he added after suggesting that he “would not be at a table” laughing with anyone from Mercedes.

Herbert took offence to this, indicating that it was a sign of a lack of respect from Verstappen towards Hamilton.

“Disappointing in many respects, he seems to just dismiss Lewis straight away and then he was straight onto Ferrari and Charles and battles they’ve had,” he explained.

“I thought he was liking the battles they were having on track [last year] but clearly there, not at all.

“I don’t understand why his comments would be so negative towards Lewis and the battles they had last year. I’m quite perplexed.”

Hostilities between Red Bull and Mercedes have been continuing in recent weeks, with Horner and Wolff butting heads over the proposed changes to the technical regulations to counter “porpoising” and bouncing.