Max Verstappen made it clear that his battles with Lewis Hamilton are very much on-track, away from it they are “fine”.
The 2021 season has seen Verstappen, for the first time, possess a car in the RB16B which is capable of challenging Hamilton’s sustained dominance in Formula 1.
Already on the track there have been plenty of scraps between the pair, with Verstappen doing most of the overtaking, but it is very much a healthy rivalry.
And nothing changes behind the scenes, with Verstappen stating that his relationship with Hamilton carries no issues at all.
“Fine, we are very normal with each other,” said Verstappen when discussing his relationship with Hamilton on ServusTV.
“We’ve had some great fights on track and hopefully it will stay that way throughout the year.”
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Verstappen wrestled back momentum in his bid for the title at the Monaco Grand Prix, claiming victory in Monte Carlo for the first time in his career.
It was a weekend of firsts since Verstappen departed the principality as the leader of the Drivers’ Championship, having not held that P1 spot before in Formula 1.
But the Dutchman is perfectly aware of the threat that Mercedes will continue to pose for the remainder of the season.
“Mercedes is still very strong on the normal circuits,” he said.
“In other years we were too slow in the first part of the season and up to speed towards the end. This year our start to the year was much better and more competitive, with the whole package. We have a good chance.
“We could have done a little better a few times, In Bahrain we should have won. Imola was good. In Portugal and Spain Mercedes was a bit faster.
“But we are first. Everyone makes mistakes and I think we have made the fewest mistakes so far this year.”
Verstappen goes into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 105 points, four ahead of Hamilton.