Lewis Hamilton on Max Verstappen: ‘Nobody can take that away from him’

The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has seen the pair come to blows on numerous occasions.

The title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in 2021 was one of the most explosive and competitive that fans have been treated to in recent season.

The battle for the championship went right down to the wire and was decided in controversial fashion at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, with Verstappen coming out on top to claim his first ever world championship.

As the battle between the pair became tense, the drivers collided on numerous occasions, leading to a frosty relationship between the two rivals.

High-profile incidents in Brazil, Monza and Saudi Arabia left Hamilton frustrated with the Dutchman’s aggressive driving style, believing that the way he was racing the Brit was not fair racing.

READ: Christian Horner reveals ‘root cause’ of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez controversy

Mercedes’ struggles in 2022 meant that Verstappen and Hamilton were not directly racing each other too often, but when the pair were able to compete with each other in Brazil, there was another flash point.

Coming into the Senna S, Verstappen was penalised for hitting Hamilton’s Mercedes, despite arguments that could place the blame at the feet of either driver.

In a recent interview with Formula 1 Magazine, Hamilton has claimed that despite the frostiness between the pair, the suggestions of issues between himself and Verstappen are simply “fairytales”.

“People like to talk about there being problems between Max and me. I respect him,” said the 38-year-old.

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“He is a lot younger, so maybe he has a problem with me. But I am not sure about that and I actually assume not. Although I can’t speak for him.

“He did everything he had to do in 2021, so why should I have a problem with him. He performed and delivered every weekend, nobody can take that away from him.”

The reference to the 2021 season comes after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff spoke about the controversial season finale in a recent interview.

READ: Ex-F1 champion hits back at Max Verstappen complaints

The Austrian explained that the injustice served by race director Michael Masi saw him fall out of love with the sport for a while, as he believes the fairness of F1 was breached.

Fans were initially concerned that the heartbreak of 2021 could have seen Hamilton walk away from the sport but he did eventually return for 2022, only to be met by an uncompetitive W13.

The Brit will hope that he is given a car capable of beating Max Verstappen’s Red Bull this year, as he hunts for a record breaking eighth world championship title.