Max Verstappen was not comfortable with the term “war” being used to describe his 2021 title scrap with Lewis Hamilton.
Formula 1 has for several years been in desperate need of a challenger to Hamilton’s dominance – the seven-time World Champion has now finished atop the Drivers’ standings six times in the past seven seasons.
And finally the fans, as well as Hamilton, have been provided with the competition craved in the form of Verstappen.
Hamilton has won three of the opening four races in 2021 but across a planned 23-race season, Verstappen and Red Bull are set to remain a constant threat.
Already we have seen the pair get their elbows out, especially at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix as Verstappen snatched the lead from Hamilton into Turn 1.
But the Dutchman wants his battle with Hamilton to consist of hard but fair racing rather than be branded as a “war”.
“Let’s not use the term ‘war’,” he said when asked if he was ready for a war with Hamilton, as quoted by GPFans.
“Let’s just keep it competitive in a nice way. Of course, we will fight hard, but they will as well which is good for the sport, but I like it too.
“I think it’s exciting and I’m of course looking forward to every single battle out there.
“With the championship fight, we finally have a car that is capable of having decent results every single weekend.
“If that’s fighting for first or third or second will depend on the track, which is a bit difficult to project at the moment, but it’s really enjoyable and I think so far this year we have had some good results.
“Also from my side, I am happy, but things can always go better on both sides, from the car and myself. It’s never good enough, even if I would have won all the races so far.”
Hamilton heads into the Monaco Grand Prix with a 14-point lead over Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
While victory around the streets of Monte Carlo would be Hamilton’s fourth triumph at that iconic venue, Verstappen is still searching for his first Monaco Grand Prix win.