Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is a little bemused by Sir Lewis Hamilton’s bid to buy Chelsea Football Club, given his affiliation with their London rivals Arsenal.
Hamilton has come together with tennis star and 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams to place a bid for the club after it was put up for sale by Roman Abramovich.
Initially, Abramovich, an oligarch with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was sanctioned amid his country’s attack on Ukraine, which looked set to prevent him from selling the club.
Now though, a consortium involving Hamilton and Williams, who are good friends, have entered the race to purchase Chelsea, and the shortlist has reduced to three.
The seven-time world champion is reportedly putting £10 million of his own money to take part ownership of the London side, but it is well documented that he is an avid fan of Arsenal.
Verstappen affirms that he would never invest money in a rival club.
“I am a PSV [Eindhoven] fan and I would never buy Ajax and if I was to buy a football club I would want to be the full owner and to make the decisions myself, not own just a tiny percentage,” he told PA.
“I thought he was an Arsenal fan? And if you are an Arsenal fan going for Chelsea, that is quite interesting. But everyone does what they want with their money so let’s see what comes out of it.”
Verstappen and Hamilton shared a relatively tense relationship in 2021, and these latest comments from the 24-year-old will inevitably add fuel to that fire, but the reigning world champion would appear to have a new rival this season in Charles Leclerc.
The dynamic is certainly different – they grew up racing each other in karting and had a famous incident on track – and while Verstappen confirmed that racing Leclerc is naturally a slightly different prospect to going head-to-head with Hamilton, he revealed the respect he has for the Monegasque.
“I’ve known Charles bit longer,” he told Sky Sports.
“So I’ve raced him already many times right? But, I mean everyone races hard I think and everyone is a little bit different in their style, but I have to say I really enjoyed what was going on in Bahrain.
“For sure, every driver has this tiny different way of how they defend or attack, but it’s fine you just adapt to it.”
As for his relationship with Hamilton, the 21-time race winner previously divulged his admiration for the “real” sportsperson that Hamilton is after their show of affection following the intense 2021 title battle.
“What was very nice was Lewis came straight up to me after he was out of the car and he congratulated me and that’s I think what real sportsmen do and especially from Lewis to see that was really nice. And also Lewis’ dad [Anthony Hamilton] by the way,” he said.