Verstappen on persistent drama with Hamilton: ‘It’s not good for me’

Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton became embroiled in an intense battle for the world championship last year.

Max Verstappen has said he does not want a 2022 season similar to the chaos of last year going up against Sir Lewis Hamilton, insisting that everyone at both Mercedes and Red Bull would suffer as a result.

A brutal and controversial title battle ensued between the pair last season, as they came together on multiple occasions en route to a chaotic season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Notable accidents between the protagonists took place at Silverstone, Monza and Saudi Arabia before a highly contentious late Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi led to a final lap overtake from the 24-year-old to snatch his maiden F1 championship.

While Verstappen revelled in the euphoria of becoming a world champion, the sheer stress of last year is not something he is keen to experience again.

“You can’t have that drama every single year, for sure,” he told The Guardian newspaper.

It’s not good for me, it’s not healthy for anyone in the team – both teams.”

Verstappen notices that his life has not really become any different since he was crowned champion of the world in Decemmber.

“Not for me at least,” he said when asked if anything had changed.

“Once I get home I prefer to do the things I was doing before becoming champion,” he added.

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1978 world champion Mario Andretti recently suggested that a racing driver’s life becomes easier once they have won one world title, and the Dutchman predicts that he will be racing with less pressure on his shoulders now that he reached the ultimate ambition of success in the pinnacle of motorsport.

“That little pressure in the back of your mind, of having to win a World Championship or trying to win it, has gone,” he explained.

“It’s already happened. I’ve done it. So when it’s tough or you’re having bad luck you probably will deal with it easier than normal.”

The 20-time race winner is not thinking about reaching seven world championships to put him level with Michael Schumacher and Hamilton – he concedes that an element of fortuitousness is necessary for that.

But he insists that he will always go on track aiming to achieve as much as he can.

“If I never get to a number seven or number eight [title], it’s fine,” he stated.

“You need a lot of luck to be in such a dominant position for such a long time. I just want to enjoy it and I know that, when I get to the track, I still want to win.”

Verstappen will race with the number one on his car next season, and will again partner Sergio Perez at Red Bull in 2022.