Verstappen responds to Hamilton: Not my first title fight

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Max Verstappen. France June 2021

Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with a smiling Max Verstappen as cameramen take photos. France June 2021

Another race week, and another comment from Lewis Hamilton about the pressure Max Verstappen must be feeling in his first F1 championship fight.

The Red Bull driver, though, insists he’s feeling nothing of the sort.

The closer it gets to the end of the season, the more Hamilton is bringing up the topic of pressure.

According to the Mercedes driver, who trails Verstappen by 12 points in the race for this year’s World title, it must be weighing heavy on the Dutchman’s shoulders as 2021 is his first F1 championship fight.

For Hamilton, he’s already in double figures.

And then there is age, Verstappen just 24 and, according to Hamilton, a lot of growing still to do. Hamilton is 12 years his senior.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, the reigning World Champion said: “I have been here a long time and I know Max has not won a championship in a long, long, long time.

“So I know what it’s like going for your first championship, particularly in this sport, I know the pressures that come with that, and so it’s nothing less than I expected from him.

“Plus he’s still a youngster and he’s going to be growing a huge amount over the next decade, which I think everyone will be excited to see.”

Verstappen has once again downplayed any talk of pressure, saying his enjoyment of the racing and the title fight means he is just living in the moment.

“I like what I’m doing, you know?” he said. “So that takes the pressure off.

“It’s not the first time I’ve been in a championship fight, yes [it’s the] first time in F1 but not in my life so that doesn’t really change because you need to win, and that’s what I’ve been doing in the past as well so I need to strive to do the same here.

“Like I’ve said already [in] previous races: when the car is capable of winning I’ll win; if the car is not capable of winning I won’t win.”

Verstappen already has eight wins this season, his most in a single F1 season. Hamilton has managed just five, his lowest tally since his first season with Mercedes in 2013.

Red Bull are the favourites for this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix but Verstappen has warned them not to take that for granted.


“I’ve said before, it’s all about details,” Verstappen said. “You can look good on paper, but you still have to nail your set-up and all the combinations around it.

“It might look good for us, but we have to again be on it From FP1 onwards and make sure we are in the right direction with the car.”


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