Hamilton verstappen abu dhabi 2021 final

Verstappen: I don’t need that [Hamilton] kind of rivalry

Hamilton verstappen abu dhabi 2021 final

Many Formula 1 fans yearn for another no-holds-barred, often bitter battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, the kind we witnessed during that epic 2021 season, but it’s not the kind of rivalry that the Red Bull driver seeks.

Much water has passed under the bridge since that night in Abu Dhabi which marked the end of the near-decade-long reign of King Lewis. He was dethroned and King Max rules F1. Most notably, the highly contentious Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale (the Michael Masi title decider) is now a forgotten battle claims Verstappen.

Maybe for the drivers, but a glance at social media will reveal that Hamilton fans are still aggrieved that their man was ‘robbed’ while Verstappen’s Orange Army gloat because, in the end and no matter what, Max is the 2021 F1 World Champion. Ditto in 2022 and 2023. His Mercedes rival diminished rapidly as a real threat as no wins in two seasons testify.

According to the latest Stake F1 betting odds, Verstappen – who won 19 GPs last year – is the hot favourite at 1.21 to repeat his F1 title-winning run and add a fourth to his collection. Hamilton is the third favourite at 12.00. McLaren’s Lando Norris is second on the list with his chances at 8.00. But testing has yet to begin…

Max: If it happens, it happens

Verstappen: You can't have the 2021 drama every year

Speaking to The Times Verstappen insisted he does not seek confrontation with Hamilton “I don’t need that kind of rivalry. Of course, we want to beat each other, but honestly, once we’re in a private setting it’s like just normal guys.”

At 26, Verstappen is tearing through the F1 record books and at this rate is on target to claim all the records that Hamilton holds, namely seven F1 World Championship titles (a record the Mercedes driver he shares with Michael Schumacher) but is way ahead on 103 GP wins and 104 pole position starts.

StatsF1 shows that Verstappen, 188 starts into his F1 career, has 53 GP victories to his name and has lined up in pole position on the grid 32 times. At the same point, Hamilton was also a triple-Champ and (remarkably!) with 53 victories as well as 61 P1 starts to his name.

Asked if the F1 record books mean anything to him, the serial-winning Red Bull driver replied: “If it happens, it happens but you need to be lucky to be in a great car for a longer period of time. You’re very dependent on the equipment you have. When I won my first title, I said, everything that comes next is a bonus because, realistically, in F1, I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve.

“Being on the podium, having a pole position, winning a championship. These kinds of things were my dream to achieve in F1. From now on, I’m just, yeah, trying to stay on top,” added Verstappen.

Ahead of the 2024 F1 season it is fair to assume that the Red Bull RB20 will be another Adrian Newey and Team masterpiece, foa rivalry to even happen between the pair Mercedes have a couple of seconds to find for Hamilton to be seriously back in the mix and challenging Max. And that’s a tough ask, inevitably time will tell.

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