Ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP, Max Verstappen says Lewis Hamilton will “never admit” that’s he afraid of the Red Bull driver.
But what he does know for certain is that he is “not afraid” of the Brit.
Verstappen and Hamilton will line up on the grid at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid for the season finale tied on points.
Verstappen though, has two advantages in his favour, he’s ahead of his Mercedes rival in the standings on countback of race wins, and he is starting from pole position.
If last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is anything to go on, it promises to be an all-out fight for the race win, and the World title.
In an interview with De Telegraaf ahead of the race, Verstappen was asked if he felt Hamilton feared him.
“He will never admit that,” he told the Dutch newspaper. “At least I’m not afraid of him.
“Yeah, I think I make him nervous if he sees me in his mirrors.
“He’s a different driver than me, less aggressive. He doesn’t know how to race like I do.
“I can’t blame him for that either, because he was never able to learn that like I did from my father.”
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 11, 2021
Although Verstappen has had to settle for runner-up to Hamilton for the past three races, he lines up on the Yas Marina grid full of confidence.
Not only does he believe he’s the “best” driver in Formula 1, he feels he showing that while racing in a car that is second best to the Mercedes.
“I think you should be like that if you’re a Formula 1 driver. So I say yes, absolutely!” was his reply when asked if he was the best driver in the sport.
“But I don’t need to hear that from anyone else. I don’t need that recognition.
“I find it much more important what I think myself, and what the people who are close to me think.”
He added: “If I had been in his car, the season would have been decided long ago.”
Following the Saudi Arabian GP, Mercedes once again labelled Verstappen as an overly aggressive driver, to be fair so did many F1 pundits.
But while he concedes he is aggressive, he says he has to be to win grands prix.
“I don’t want to take him out, I want to beat him,” he insisted. “That’s another wording.
“Some people find me aggressive, others very aggressive and some people don’t. I think I am myself.
“The last races I have to defend more, because we are a bit slower. I don’t have the luxury of checking a lead or driving away now.
“And yes, I do everything I can to win. If I don’t think like that, I’d better stay home.
“If I hadn’t had that attitude, we wouldn’t be here with an equal number of points. Then he was already champion.”
Verstappen starting on pole ahead of Hamilton
The championship rivals will be on different strategies in the title deciding race.