Verstappen "can't be bothered" with mind games in F1 title fight

Max Verstappen says he “can’t be bothered” with mind games against Lewis Hamilton, but believes their respect will remain through this year’s Formula 1 title fight.

Verstappen "can't be bothered" with mind games in F1 title fight

Verstappen moved into the lead of the F1 drivers’ championship for the first time in his career by winning last time out in Monaco, pulling four points clear of Mercedes rival Hamilton.

Verstappen said after the race that “actions speak louder than words” in what seemed to be a dig at Hamilton, who had said earlier in the week that Verstappen “feels perhaps he has a lot to prove”.

Hamilton followed this up by saying he found mind games “childish” and wasn’t looking to get into any off-track back-and-forth with Verstappen.

Hamilton and Verstappen have gone wheel-to-wheel at four of the five races so far this season, with the pair sharing a mutual respect on-track and avoiding any incidents.

Asked if he was preparing for mind games to unfold in the fight with Hamilton, Verstappen moved to distance himself from them.

“If they come - I can’t be bothered by it, to be honest, mind games,” Verstappen said.

“I think Lewis said after the race he doesn’t want to play those things. So we just have to focus on what we have to do on the track anyway, which I think we do, and that’s also the best.

“Whatever is said in here [in the press conference], sometimes, at the end of the day, it can be a bit emotional sometimes as well after a race or before a race. It also sometimes depends on how you get the question asked.

“So it’s alright. I think Lewis and I, we really respect each other, and I think that’s really important.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing at press conference

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing at press conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

Hamilton struggled to seventh place in Monaco as Mercedes failed to match Red Bull for pace, causing him to squander a 14-point lead over Verstappen in the standings.

But Verstappen was not convinced that Mercedes remains behind Red Bull for pace at normal tracks, believing the German team has an advantage.

“I do still think they are, on normal tracks, ahead of us,” Verstappen said.

“But I think for us so far this season, we’ve had a great start compared to the other seasons.

“We just need to keep it up, we need to keep improving, we need to bring new bits to the car all the time to try and improve it. Then I think we have a very good shot at it.

“But so far, of course to be leading the championship is very positive.”

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas “surprised” by Mercedes suggestion he was out of position in Monaco pitstop
Previous article

Bottas “surprised” by Mercedes suggestion he was out of position in Monaco pitstop

Next article

Norris unable to drive McLaren F1 car the way he wants

Norris unable to drive McLaren F1 car the way he wants
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022