MAX VERSTAPPEN leads the world championship by 63 points over Charles Leclerc heading to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
F1 preview: A lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix
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Max Verstappen has revealed he would not be “having a laugh” with Mercedes the way he does with Ferrari and suggested he does not have the same respect for Lewis Hamilton and the Silver Arrows that he does for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari. The Red Bull star has said he has a good relationship with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto and shared some jokes with him over the French Grand Prix weekend.
However, the Dutchman declared that he would not do the same thing with Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff. He said: “Also, certain people within the team, even Mattia, I have a really good relationship with him
“On Saturday night, we even had a laugh in Paul Ricard, and I think that’s great because that’s what racing should be about. We are hard competitors on the track and we will always try to beat each other, which I think is very normal, but outside of it you can have a good time as well, and that’s what I really enjoy about this year.
“Let’s say it like this, I would not be on a table on Saturday night having a laugh with (Mercedes).” The Dutchman was then asked why this year’s title battle was so different to last season’s.
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Max Verstappen has snubbed Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes (Image: Getty)
The reigning champion then took the opportunity to take another swipe at Mercedes, claiming he had “a lot of respect for Ferrari”. Verstappen responded: “Just the click we have at the moment with the team, and I have a lot of respect for Ferrari in general.”
This season’s title fight between Verstappen and Leclerc has been mild-mannered with no incidents so far. At this stage last season, Verstappen and Hamilton had already come to blows at the Emilia Romagna and British Grand Prix.
The battle has also been a lot easier for the Red Bull star with Verstappen enjoying a 63-point advantage one race before the summer break. Last season, the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen at this stage was just eight points.
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Max Verstappen said he prefers racing Charles Leclerc (Image: Getty)
Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen also stressed that he had a better relationship with Leclerc which had played a part in building the less ferocious title fight.
He added: “I prefer what we have now. Because it’s first of all, Charles, [who] I know very well. He’s a nice guy. We are a similar age, of course, I think we are only three weeks apart.
“And I think also we are fighting a very well-respected competitor in terms of Ferrari. The way they go about, the way we are fighting, when they win the race, we can go to them and say, ‘well done’ and when we win a race, they can say ‘well done’. And I really respect that.”