Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton ‘sometimes hated each other’ during F1 title fight

Max Verstappen has admitted that he and F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton “sometimes hated each other” during their epic battle this season.

The Dutchman emerged victorious after a rollercoaster season and even more dramatic final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Hamilton looked destined for a record-breaking eighth crown before a safety car and a controversial ruling under it saw Verstappen roar back to win on the final lap.

Relations between the two drivers and their teams have been strained to say the least during the year with Verstappen insisting that is all part of the sport.

“You look each other in the eye,” he said. “You don’t say a lot but you do relate a lot and you really appreciate the fight.

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“Sometimes we did hate each other, but that’s fine. That’s the competitive spirit of both of us. He is an incredible driver.”

Toto Wolff was left furious afterwards and Verstappen on Wednesday was asked how he felt amid the uncertainty of a further appeal, and whether his relationship with Mercedes and the team’s boss was permanently broken.

“I’m fine, I don’t even think about it too much, because I do feel like the world champion, and it doesn’t matter what they try to do,” he said

“We won it on track, we won it when there was a green light and we passed them on track, and they will never be able to take that away from me anyway.

“About the possible appeal – I’m not busy with that. As a team of course it might be disturbing, but for us we have been really enjoying the last few days.”

Verstappen and Hamilton battled all season long

Verstappen – who had already revealed Wolff sent him a congratulatory text message after Sunday’s race – then added: “The relationship – I think I can be a forgiving person, but at the moment it’s still all so new…that it’s better not to talk about it too much.

“But I saw Toto in Monaco before Saudi, I had a dinner and he was sitting on the table next to me and we had a chat. He of course goes flat out for his team and I know mine also does everything they can.

“But besides that I do think you should be accepting a loss, it doesn’t matter how much it hurts. I do think there that there’s a bit of a difference between the teams.”

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Prior to the Abu Dhabi showdown, Verstappen had said his opinion of Britain’s seven-time champion Hamilton and Mercedes had changed during the course of the season, and “not in a positive way”.

Regarding the current appeal situation, he said on Wednesday: “That’s nothing surprising just because of how the season already panned out up until the last race, so it’s just another bit. My view (of Mercedes) will not change, it’s pretty much the same.”

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