Heikki Kovalainen has noticed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rivalry change

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F1 champion Max Verstappen was crushed by Charles Leclerc on the Bahrain Grand Prix final weekend.

Chris Evans says Max Verstappen must 'be a bit nicer'

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F1 champion Max Verstappen ‘has grown’ since beating Lewis Hamilton to glory in December, in accordance with former Formulation One driver Heikki Kovalainen. The 24-year-old additionally possesses a robust rivalry with Charles Leclerc, one thing that dates again to the duo’s time go-karting collectively. And ex-Mercedes star Kovalainen believes the Purple Bull driver has modified as he appears to be like to retain his title.

Verstappen was in a position to preserve tempo with Leclerc in Bahrain final weekend however, ultimately, was pressured to retire from the race because of a difficulty together with his car.

The 24-year-old stays the F1 driver to beat, nevertheless, after beating Hamilton to title glory again in December.

Verstappen and Leclerc have a robust rivalry on the grid and, now, Kovalainen has expressed a perception the Purple Bull star has ‘grown’ since his championship triumph.

Final weekend, in Bahrain, Verstappen was beneficiant when it got here to giving his Ferrari counterpart area in the course of the race.

And Kovalainen has now defined his observations, telling talkSPORT: “For me, Verstappen might have been extra aggressive truly each occasions.

“I believe he in all probability had two goes with Leclerc, he might have defended as soon as he acquired forward.

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Heikki Kovalainen has noticed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rivalry change

F1 information: Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are competing for championship glory (Picture: GETTY)

“I believe he handed him into flip one and thru turns two and three he was forward and I imagine he might have simply lower throughout to the opposite facet extra aggressively and made Charles carry, or hit him.

“I absolutely anticipated him to do this after which you might have a dialog on the radio, Charles complaining ‘what’s he doing’ and whether or not there’s penalties coming or not.

“However he left him room and he didn’t drive, to me, as aggressively as he has earlier than. So it’s maybe part of studying for Max.”

On Verstappen and Leclerc particularly, he then added: “I believe it was nice racing on the restrict however no points this time and I believe it in all probability wasn’t simply because it was Charles.

“My feeling is that Max has grown since he gained the championship.

“He’s nonetheless younger and he’s nonetheless studying and he’ll get higher and his judgement will get higher, however the intuition is all the time going to be there, and even now when he handed Charles into flip one he despatched it from fairly a approach again.

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Heikki Kovalainen has noticed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rivalry change

F1 information: Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are getting ready for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (Picture: GETTY)

“That’s the intuition of, if there’s a spot there I’ve acquired to go there in any other case he’ll draw back, so you can nonetheless see that, however I believed he drove fairly sensibly in any other case and very well.

“So maybe a real second of development for Max since final season.”

The Finn additionally thinks Verstappen has realized from his rivalry with Hamilton final yr, too.

“Max is okay tuning that aggression, high quality tuning that intuition that he clearly has,” he stated.

“All the nice drivers have this intuition like [Ayrton] Senna, Senna stated should you not go for a spot you’re not a race driver, all the nice drivers have all the time despatched it.

“I imagine in Max’s case he’s nonetheless younger, he’s nonetheless high quality tuning that edge and in Lewis’ case I believe he is aware of the place the road could be very properly.

Heikki Kovalainen has noticed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rivalry change

F1 information: Max Verstappen was crushed by Charles Leclerc in Bahrain (Picture: GETTY)

“He could make a aware determination if he’s going to cross that line or not cross that line and over the season you need to stability it out whenever you’re going to danger it whenever you’re not going to danger it.”

Verstappen was disillusioned after Purple Bull struggled in Bahrain final day trip.

And the Purple Bull star referred to as on his workforce to ‘examine every thing’ within the speedy aftermath of the race.

“I imply, what occurred on the finish is clearly very irritating, however in fact earlier than that, fairly just a few points,” he stated.

“To begin with the stability was off.

“I didn’t have the identical feeling as on Friday on the lengthy runs, in order that was a bit disappointing.

Heikki Kovalainen has noticed Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc rivalry change

F1 information: Heikki Kovalainen has opened up on Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc (Picture: GETTY)

“Then out of the blue my steering, I don’t know what occurred to that, it was simply fully locked and the sooner I used to be going, I might barely steer.

“So it was not straightforward on the restart to defend from Carlos.

“However then I used to be nonetheless in second with that large subject so that you suppose, okay, with all these points that I’ve had at this time, second could be a very good end result.

“After which out of the blue I needed to retire, every thing simply switched off.

“It appeared like a gas pump or subject, there was no gas coming to the engine.

“In fact this stuff, you don’t need them to occur and it’s very painful for the workforce as properly that each vehicles retired. We have to look into every thing.”

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