Max Verstappen wants to dethrone ‘king of the castle’

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were praised for their clean driving at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Karun Chandhok has given his verdict as to why Max Verstappen is fiercer against Lewis Hamilton than 2022 rival Charles Leclerc, with the ex-F1 driver believing that the Dutchman feels like he has to “assert himself” against the seven-time World Champion.

Verstappen claimed his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship with relative ease this year, with Ferrari having effectively ended Leclerc’s title hopes following a catalogue of strategic errors.

The Dutchman incredibly claimed 15 wins in 2022, a new record for the most wins in a single season.

As well as that, Verstappen broke the record for most points accumulated in a year, after claiming 454 points throughout the 22-race season.

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The vast majority of his victories came as a result of complete domination, with the Dutchman having been impeccably clean when needing to overtake.

At least he was with 18 of the 19 other drivers on the grid, as the 25-year-old once again made contact with Hamilton.

The pair made contact at the Brazilian Grand Prix whilst Hamilton was fighting for his only victory of the season, something which didn’t happen as a result of the collision at Turn Two with his Dutch rival.

Their collision at the Brazilian GP marked the second consecutive season where the duo had collided at Interlagos, with the pair having hit each other several times in 2021.

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Verstappen and Hamilton colliding became a theme of 2021, with the pair having gone over the limit when competing against one another.

A lack of respect was evident, whilst Verstappen and Leclerc, on the other hand, could be seen to understand one another during battle.

Chandhok brought this topic up on Sky Sports F1, with the driver hailing Hamilton as the “king of the castle”, suggesting that Verstappen wants to dethrone the 103-time GP winner.

“Lewis is the king of the castle and he has been this generation,” Chandhok said on the Sky Sports F1 end of season review show.

“Max felt that he had to assert himself against Lewis, knock him off his throne.

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“Whereas he sees Charles [Leclerc], George [Russell], Carlos [Sainz] as his peers and that’s why he races them differently.”

Interestingly, Hamilton has admitted that he was the same as Verstappen when he was younger, in regard to wanting to beat the very best in the sport at all costs.

In his debut season Hamilton famously battled against Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, and Felipe Massa from the get-go, in a bid to topple the best.