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The two young stars of Formula One are going head to head as they battle to become world champion. Defending champion Verstappen currently sits top of the standings with a lead of 63 points over Leclerc.
Despite many ding dong battles on the track that resulted in close wheel to wheel action, the pair’s public relationship remains highly respectful.
This is much different to the battle Verstappen had with Hamilton last season. Temper flared after they were involved in on track incidents at Silverstone, Italy, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. Causing friction between the Red Bull and the Mercedes team.
All this led to arguably the sport's most controversial ending ever after Verstappen passed Hamilton on the last lap to rip the title away from the Brit’s hands in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking to Sky, the Dutchman has said that this season’s battle has been far more enjoyable.
He said: “I prefer what we have now because, first of all, Charles I know very well, he's a nice guy, we are a similar age - I think we are only three weeks apart.
“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 a 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.”
"I prefer what we have now"— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 29, 2022
Max Verstappen reflects on the differences between the challenge for the Drivers' Championship this year and last year 👇 pic.twitter.com/SVuMMvgbf4
Verstappen then spoke about his relationship with the Ferrari team, claiming he has more respect for them than Mercedes.
The 24-year-old added: “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 [after French Grand Prix qualifying], 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.”
He added: “Let's say it like this, I would not be on a table on Saturday night having a laugh with (Mercedes). It’s just the click we have at the moment with the team, and I have a lot of respect for Ferrari in general.”
Verstappen will hope to extend his lead at the summit of the championship as he aims to take victory in Sunday’s Hungarian Gran Prix.
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