Max ‘cannot afford silly mistakes’ vs Hamilton

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Max Verstappen at Portier, Monaco

Max Verstappen says he and his Red Bull team cannot afford to slip up in taking the fight to Mercedes and Sir Lewis Hamilton this season.

The Mercedes man currently leads Verstappen by three race wins to one and has edged his way into an early 14-point lead in this year’s World Championship.

Red Bull’s Verstappen says that there’s a long season ahead, however, but he and his team have to be on their game at every race if they are to overcome the seven-time World Champion over the course of a full race calendar.

Hamilton and Verstappen have fought on track at every race so far this season, developing a title battle which both drivers have been enjoying at the front of the field.

“It’s close,” Verstappen told reporters ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix. “I wish it was closer! It’s a long season and we can’t afford to have any retirement or silly mistakes so we just have to keep on doing what we’re doing.

“I think it [the close battle] is what everyone wants to see but, of course, what I want as well.

“The last few years we have not been close enough so it’s a good start to the season, that’s for sure and I hope it can be like this for the rest of the season because it keeps everyone excited.”

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown said previously that he feels it’s a “matter of time” before the two collide on track, with Sebastian Vettel rebutting those comments by believing people should herald the skills of the two rather than wait for a crash to happen.

While this is set to be his first full season fighting at the front in every race, Verstappen insists he has “nothing to prove” in proving his title-challenging credentials, and spoke of the mutual respect he and Hamilton have for each other as they continue their battle in Monaco this weekend.

“It is very relaxed,” Verstappen added. “You can see we always get on very well.

“When you just respect each other and when you can say to each other when the other one has done a good job or a better job, that is very important.”

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