Max Verstappen vs Charles Leclerc: Why new title rivalry is so totally different from final yr’s Lewis Hamilton duel

Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton typically crossed the road, however Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have to this point proven one another loads of respect. Why? Sky F1 knowledgeable Mark Hughes delves into the brand new title rivalry and assesses whether or not it can erupt like final yr’s

Final Up to date: 06/04/22 9:41am

Max Verstappen finally managed to pass Charles Leclerc with just four laps remaining in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

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Max Verstappen lastly managed to cross Charles Leclerc with simply 4 laps remaining within the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen lastly managed to cross Charles Leclerc with simply 4 laps remaining within the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

There have as but been no incidents after two flat-out contests between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc within the opening two races, this in distinction to Verstappen’s typically bodily wheel-to-wheel battles with Lewis Hamilton final yr.

There was a second of their Bahrain cube the place Leclerc had bought DRS on the Crimson Bull as much as Flip 4 and went across the outdoors to retake the lead. Leclerc turned throughout Verstappen’s bows into the nook and had this been final yr and had the opposite automotive been Hamilton, we’d have anticipated Max to refuse to yield and speak to to be made.

However not this time; he gave Leclerc the house and the place. What provides? Has Verstappen adopted a distinct fashion?

Most likely not. What’s totally different are the circumstances.

Verstappen vs Hamilton: Laying down a marker

Final yr Verstappen was in a career-defining combat for the world championship for the primary time after six seasons in automobiles which weren’t of a title-contending calibre. He was doing so in opposition to the mixed colossi of Mercedes and Hamilton, the gold customary for thus a few years.

There undoubtedly appeared to be a component of Verstappen laying down his marker to Hamilton, to ascertain a psychological higher hand that in any 50/50 conditions he would at all times prevail, that he was even ready to crash slightly than yield.

Relive some of the most intense tussles on track between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year.

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Relive among the most intense tussles on observe between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen final yr.

Relive among the most intense tussles on observe between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen final yr.

It appeared a part of a battle plan for the season as soon as it was apparent that the Crimson Bull was a adequate software to present Verstappen severe championship aspirations.

Though Verstappen had been in F1 for six years and there had been events the place he and Hamilton had crossed swords, it was by no means for something of actual consequence. Hamilton had admitted that he wasn’t fairly positive learn how to deal with Max’s aggression close-up and had figured one of the best ways was simply to present him house.

However that was when Hamilton had titles to safe and the one method of dropping them would have been to non-finish repeatedly. He might afford to lose out within the odd combat for observe house. However when engaged head-to-head in a title contest, the dynamics clearly modified – and sooner or later Hamilton responded. Final yr was the primary yr Hamilton and Verstappen correctly felt one another out on equal phrases.

Verstappen vs Leclerc: Explaining the 2022 respect

However Verstappen and Leclerc have been going wheel-to-wheel proper again to their karting days as children. They’re greater than acquainted with one another on observe and have even come to type one thing of a bond. They’ve raced every for a really very long time, can learn one another very effectively.

Many recall their controversial coming collectively for the victory late on in Austria in 2019 the place Verstappen hung Leclerc out over the exit kerb.

A young Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc argue during their karting days, with the pair now forming one of the biggest rivalries during the current F1 season.

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A younger Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc argue throughout their karting days, with the pair now forming one of many greatest rivalries throughout the present F1 season.

A younger Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc argue throughout their karting days, with the pair now forming one of many greatest rivalries throughout the present F1 season.

After the stewards dominated in Verstappen’s favour on that one Leclerc mentioned he now seemed ahead to racing Max based on the etiquette established in Austria and was nearly as good as his phrase on the subsequent race, at Silverstone. There they staged an epic duel, with wheels rubbing at occasions, earlier than Verstappen was delayed by way of being hit by Sebastian Vettel.

So Verstappen and Leclerc are fairly able to getting bodily however there isn’t a want for any factors to be confirmed; they know one another of outdated.

Anthony Davidson analyses the battles between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc down the years after the Red Bull and Ferrari driver went head-to-head at the Bahrain GP.

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Anthony Davidson analyses the battles between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc down the years after the Crimson Bull and Ferrari driver went head-to-head on the Bahrain GP.

Anthony Davidson analyses the battles between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc down the years after the Crimson Bull and Ferrari driver went head-to-head on the Bahrain GP.

For all that he has a fame for zero compromise, Verstappen really races based on the scenario. Final yr, when he ran Hamilton off at Brazil Flip 4 after the latter was already forward, it was achieved within the context of the Mercedes being, at that time within the season, a lot the quicker automotive. It seemed possible that Hamilton would win all of the remaining races after the large step made between Mexico – and Brazil and Verstappen was operating out of the way of stopping that.

There was a desperation to that transfer, born of the prospect of dropping the world title he’d been ready so lengthy to realize, that it was all slipping away from him.

Max Verstappen says there is mutual respect between himself and Charles Leclerc, following their epic on-track battle in Saudi Arabia.

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Max Verstappen says there’s mutual respect between himself and Charles Leclerc, following their epic on-track battle in Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen says there’s mutual respect between himself and Charles Leclerc, following their epic on-track battle in Saudi Arabia.

That is not the case now. That desperation is just not there, one thing he touched upon in Jeddah, saying, “Final yr… when, as a bit child, you at all times dream of, after all, making an attempt to be a System 1 driver, and hopefully sooner or later you win a championship, however that that is achieved.

“That type of strain of wanting and needing to do this is gone. However you continue to wish to win races and stuff.”

Do not write off the likelihood that there will likely be additional Leclerc/Verstappen clashes. However this dynamic may be very totally different from that of Hamilton and Verstappen final yr.

Watch all of the Australian GP reside on Sky Sports activities F1 this weekend, with the race at 6am on Sunday.


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