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Sports

Max Verstappen: Lewis Hamilton rivalry pushes me on


The young Dutchman wrestled the Drivers’ Championship away from his rival for the first time in five years and, despite a few collisions throughout the year, believes the rivalry is healthy for not just both drivers but the teams and sport as a whole.

Last Updated: 15/12/21 10:15pm


Newly-crowned Formula One World Champion Max Verstappen reflects on his title win with Sky Sports News' Craig Slater.

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Newly-crowned Formula One World Champion Max Verstappen reflects on his title win with Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater.

Newly-crowned Formula One World Champion Max Verstappen reflects on his title win with Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater.

Max Verstappen has paid tribute to Lewis Hamilton and believes the rivalry between them has pushed both to strive for near perfection this season.

With nothing separating the pair all year, all eyes were on the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend where the Dutchman wrestled the Drivers’ Championship away from Hamilton for the first time in five years.

The Red Bull driver looked out of the reckoning at various points but, after the Safety Car came on to deal with a Nicholas Latifi crash, he was given a reprieve.

He subsequently changed his tyres during the delay and, after lapped cars were allowed to clear the safety car, he and leader Hamilton had a final-lap shoot-out in which Verstappen prevailed.

Hamilton, despite his Mercedes team launching two appeals in the aftermath of the race, was nevertheless magnanimous in defeat towards his young rival.

Max Verstappen has paid tribute to rival Lewis Hamilton after claiming his first Drivers' Championship

Max Verstappen has paid tribute to rival Lewis Hamilton after claiming his first Drivers’ Championship

Verstappen returned the compliment when he reflected on his rivalry with the seven-times world champion, telling Sky Sports News: “I had a great fight all season with Lewis and of course we came together a few times but at the end of the day we respect each other a lot and it’s great for the sport.

“It’s tough to lose a Championship on the last lap but what was really nice was that Lewis came straight up to me after the race and congratulated me – that’s what real sportsmen do.

“The way we pushed each other to the limit in every single race as well as the team – everyone has to be perfect or at least try to be perfect.

“That brings a lot of pressure and stress for everyone which is quite extraordinary because I’ve had seasons in the past where I was on the podium but there was nothing to push for – so to have a season like this was pretty intense.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reflects on Max Verstappen's driver championship and the first for the team in seven years, telling Sky Sports News' Craig Slater the intensity of the season has made it one of the best.

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reflects on Max Verstappen’s driver championship and the first for the team in seven years, telling Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater the intensity of the season has made it one of the best.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reflects on Max Verstappen’s driver championship and the first for the team in seven years, telling Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater the intensity of the season has made it one of the best.

Horner: Titans Max and Lewis have been a joy to watch

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the intense rivalry between his driver Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has delivered one of the best F1 seasons ever.

Reflecting on his ninth title at the helm, Horner said: “This one is right up there with the first, it feels as special as that because of the intensity – it’s been a heck of a season.

“Those two drivers (Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton) have been outstanding this year, they’ve been a step ahead of the rest of the field and for me, it’s been a joy to watch and a joy to be part of.

“To see these two titans, go head to head and deliver at every single Grand Prix has been something and I have no doubt that will be the case again in 2022.”





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