Max Verstappen has suggested Lewis Hamilton is “a little jealous of my current success”, after recent comments from the seven-time World Champion.
Hamilton spoke forthrightly about his 2021 title rival after signing his new contract at Mercedes, suggesting he has yet to face the same calibre of driver as him in the same car throughout his career as a team-mate, with Hamilton having driven alongside three World Champions to date.
He was reluctant to send too much praise to the Dutchman directly for his current dominant streak, labelling it “just the same” as when other drivers had been at the top of the sport.
Max Verstappen: ‘Maybe Lewis Hamilton is a little jealous of my current success’
When asked about those comments, Verstappen was dismissive of what Hamilton had to say, and believes Mercedes “have a very hard time dealing with losing” after being the dominant force in Formula 1 for eight years.
“Maybe he’s a little jealous of my current success,” Verstappen said in an interview with Dutch media at Monza, as quoted by RacingNews365.
“This kind of statement… he possibly thinks he’s winning something with that, but it makes no difference to me.
“I think Mercedes have a very hard time dealing with losing, after all these years of winning so much. At some point, you have to be realistic and then you have to be able to appreciate what other teams are doing.
“We did the same when they were dominant and we also said, ‘We have to work harder because we are not good enough’.
“You can keep shouting and screaming that what we do is not that special… you just have to deal with yourself.”
What did Lewis Hamilton say about Max Verstappen?
In an interview with Sky Italia in the wake of signing his new Mercedes contract, Hamilton detailed the different team-mates he has had throughout his career and said that the level of respect he has for Verstappen’s current achievements is no higher than in previous dominant periods in Formula 1.
Alongside that, he added his belief that the calibre of team-mates he has faced in his career has been higher than the Red Bull driver has had to face to date.
“I’m no more impressed than when Michael [Schumacher] was leading, when Sebastian [Vettel] was leading, when Kimi [Raikkonen] was driving, when Fernando was winning – it’s just the same,” he said.
“I think the [Red Bull] team as a whole is one of the strongest, they’re firing on all cylinders right now.
“The car is incredible, the drivers are doing an amazing job, very consistent, the pit crew is doing a great job, the mechanics are doing a good job, strategy is doing a good job – on point, you can’t fault them.
“In my personal opinion, all my team-mates have been stronger than the team-mates Max has had: Jenson [Button], Fernando [Alonso], George [Russell], Valtteri [Bottas], Nico [Rosberg].
“I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very, very strong, very consistent – and Max has not raced against anyone like that.”