Max Verstappen quizzed on Lewis Hamilton rivalry and potential eight title target

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the podium in Mexico City.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen together on the podium.

Max Verstappen has said he and Lewis Hamilton are “just normal guys” together when they’re in a private setting, when asked about the current state of their rivalry.

The Red Bull and Mercedes drivers went through one of the most heated and dramatic title battles in modern Formula 1 history when they were gunning for glory in 2021, coming to blows on multiple occasions throughout that season.

Hamilton’s competitiveness has waned since, with Mercedes not adjusting to the ground effect regulations with the same effectiveness of Red Bull, but the two multiple World Champions are considered by many to still be the two drivers at the top of the sport.

Max Verstappen on Lewis Hamilton: ‘I don’t need that kind of rivalry’

While words became heated between Red Bull and Mercedes during their title battle, and at times between the two drivers themselves, Verstappen has been on a run of record dominance since securing his first title in 2021.

When he was asked about the state of how he and the seven-time World Champion get on, the Dutchman was keen to play down any tension that may have existed before.

“I don’t need that kind of rivalry,” Verstappen told The Times.

“Of course we want to beat each other, but honestly, once we’re in a private setting it’s like just normal guys.” recommends

F1 driver contracts: What is the contract status of every driver on the 2024 grid?

F1 points all-time rankings: Where do Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso feature?

Verstappen has also said before that records and statistics are not of particular interest to him, despite his strategy in Abu Dhabi centering around him wanting to lead for 1,000 laps in a single season.

His longevity in Formula 1 has also been questioned, with Verstappen having repeatedly said he has other interests away from F1 and he wants to try other categories in future.

If the stars align for him to win every title until the end of his Red Bull contract in 2028, that would see him move to the all-time record of eight World Championships.

While records have never particularly crossed his mind, he was non-committal when asked outright if he is aiming to pass the tally set by Hamilton and Michael Schumacher in future.

“If it happens, it happens,” he responded.

“But you need to be lucky to be in a great car for a longer period of time. You’re very dependent on the material you have.

“When I won my first title, I said, everything that comes next is a bonus because, realistically, in F1, I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve.

“Being on the podium, having a pole position, winning a championship. These kinds of things were my dream to achieve in Formula One. From now on, I’m just, yeah, trying to stay on top.”

Read next: Hamilton trounces Schumacher, Ricciardo crushes Perez and more quick-fire F1 questions