‘It’s nice that, at 37, he can still learn to hit an apex!’: Max Verstappen hits back at bitter rival Lewis Hamilton following claims from the Brit that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is a ‘more sensible’ driver than the Dutchman
- Max Verstappen says it’s nice Lewis Hamilton can still learn to hit an apex
- It follows claims from the Brit that Charles Leclerc is a ‘sensible’ driver
- Hamilton and Verstappen clashed several times during last year’s championship
- Verstappen currently leads the F1 championship race by 34 points
Max Verstappen has hit back at F1 rival Lewis Hamilton following claims from the British driver that racing ‘sensible’ Charles Leclerc is ‘very different’ than battles with his Dutch rival, by saying that it’s nice that Hamilton ‘can still learn how to hit an apex’ at the age of 37.
Hamilton was embroiled in a side-by-side battle with Leclerc at last week’s race at Silverstone, and following the tussle the seven-time champion called the Ferrari driver ‘very sensible’ during an interview with Sky F1.
Hamilton added that it was ‘clearly a lot different to what we experienced last year’, alluding to his fierce rivalry with Verstappen during last season’s championship, when they crashed on several occasions, including at Silverstone.
Max Verstappen has responded to comments made by his championship rival Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton and Verstappen clashed on numerous occasions during last season
Speaking to Dutch media at a press conference at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday, the reigning F1 world champion was asked what he thought about Hamilton’s comments and if Leclerc was a more sensible driver.
‘I think it’s quite nice that, at 37 years of age, you can still learn how to hit an apex’. Verstappen said.
‘He is learning, so that is positive. It is also good for younger drivers to know that you are still learning when you are 37 years old.’
The comments follow a rivalry that exploded at last year’s British Grand Prix, where the drivers collided when battling for the lead during the opening lap of the race.
Hamilton went on to win the race, despite receiving a penalty for the clash that saw a 150mph impact for Verstappen into the barrier.
The pair then collided at Monza and would have subsequent run-ins in Brazil and Saudi Arabia, before Verstappen clinched the title on the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi last December in hugely controversial circumstances following dubious calls from a race director who has since been sacked.
When asked again about Hamilton’s comments, the 24-year-old repeated his point that it was ‘good that he has found the apex now’ and went on to compare the differences between his clashes with the British star and the battle between Lewis and Leclerc.
‘You can clearly see in the footage what was different compared to last year.
‘I think Charles gave him less space than I did last year, so that says it all. And in the end, [Lewis] was the one who got penalised last year, so there’s no point talking about that either.’
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s rivalry began following a clash at Silverstone last year
Hamilton credited Charles Leclerc has being a more sensible driver after Silverstone race
Verstappen currently leads the way in the drivers’ championship, 34 points ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez, following six wins this season. Hamilton is yet to finish any higher than third as Mercedes struggle under the new technical regulations introduced this season.
This weekend Verstappen will go in as favourite for the Austrian Grand Prix, a race he has won on four of the last six occasions. When asked if he thought Hamilton’s comments were part of the game, he stated that he thought they were ‘a bit blunt’, but would have ‘no effect on my performance’.
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