Max Verstappen has been steadily inching towards becoming Lewis Hamilton’s rival in Formula 1. So far, the two have enjoyed rare but fruitful close battles. Unfortunately, the significant difference in pace has prevented the ignition of the Max-Lewis rivalry.
Despite the fact that Lewis is the one standing between Max and his championship title-winning hopes, the Dutchman did not hold back from complimenting the senior Mercedes driver.
“Lewis is certainly one of the best drivers ever. True, many would be able to win with his car, but that doesn’t detract from him,” he said.
“A good example of what I’m saying is this year’s Turkish Grand Prix. It was a very difficult race.
“But in the end, Lewis managed to win by staying on track without making any mistakes. If you see where Bottas is up with the same car, you understand the difference between a champion and a good driver.”
Despite lurking amongst outside the top three for most of the race, Lewis unleashed his true pace and raced away from the rest of the pack. He eventually crossed the line holding a massive lead of over 30 seconds to secure his seventh world championship in style.
The Dutchman opened up that despite the massive age difference, the relationship between himself and Lewis will grow over the upcoming years. He also spoke about how his respect toward Lewis grew since his entry into Formula 1.
“There is a lot of respect between us,” he said. “And I’m sure it’ll grow over the years. He is very nice to me. Each of us has our own life outside of Formula 1, but when we sit together we get along very well and we also know how to joke.”
Although the two are getting along quite well off-track, it might soon turn upside down with the 2021 season approaching the potential rivals.
Max will most likely have a better car in hand come Australian GP, and will simultaneously hope that Mercedes don’t make their usual giant leap in performance.
If that turns out to be the case, the much-awaited Lewis-Max rivalry will fire up, and consequently produce some incredible racing between the two talented drivers. Hence, 2021 might just not be a Mercedes-dominant season, as Red Bull will also be looking to get their nose in the championship battle.
Overall, will 2021 be the year when the Mercedes’ defending champion might have to drive his heart out to retain his title?