Elbows out and wheel-to-wheel, Max Verstappen reckons Charles Leclerc was “a little bit sore still from Austria” as they fought for position at the British GP.
Leclerc was left smarting when he lost the Austrian Grand Prix win to Verstappen after the Dutchman pushed him wide and off the track to take the lead.
The Ferrari driver vowed to learn from that, and that’s what exactly he did.
Admitting that the racing was at times “borderline” but “always” within the rules, he battled Verstappen for much of the British Grand Prix with the two youngsters adding plenty of footage to the race’s highlights reel.
With neither giving an inch out on track, it was eventually strategy that put Verstappen ahead of his rival.
— iGP Manager (@iGPManager) July 14, 2019
“I think he was a little bit sore still from Austria so he was defending really hard, but it’s fine, I’m all for that,” he told Autosport.
“I didn’t want to take too much risk in those battles to damage the car, because I knew we were quite a bit faster.
“So I just needed to pick my moment, but then luckily the team did it for me with a good strategy, and then it was all looking good of course for a good result.”
It all came to naught when the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel later ploughed into the back of Verstappen, pitching him into a spin and damaging his RB15.
The Red Bull driver would go onto to finish P5 while Leclerc joined the Mercedes team-mates on the podium.
But having at least enjoyed his battle with Leclerc, Verstappen hopes the race stewards continue to allow hard racing.
“[It} would be good, yeah,” he added. “I think it was nice racing.”