Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are the two biggest names in Formula 1 today and bitter rivals.
After comments made by Hamilton on Friday, it’s hard to see that rivalry ending anytime soon.
Hamilton, 38, is a seven-time series champion and perhaps the greatest driver of all-time.
But Verstappen, who is just 25, is quickly chasing him down in the record books. The Belgian is the two-time defending series champion, including a thrilling 2021 championship battle that went down to the final race with Hamilton.
Verstappen is the runaway leader in the 2023 standings and with Red Bull Racing looking like the predominant power in the sport today, it doesn’t appear his reign will stop anytime soon.
“Ultimately, it’s likely that bit by bit, by the end of the year, we’ll catch Red Bull, but that’s only because they’re already focusing on next year’s car because they’re so far ahead,” Hamilton said prior to July’s Austrian Grand Prix. “They don’t have to make any changes to this year’s car any more because they’re so far ahead, just cruising 100 points ahead of us. I think the FIA should put a time when everyone is allowed to start development on their next car.”
Verstappen, of course, noted that Hamilton did not make the same request when his Mercedes team was the dominant force in the sport.
"We weren't talking about that when he was winning his championships…so I don't think we should now"
Max Verstappen responds to Lewis Hamilton's comments about a specific car development start date. pic.twitter.com/dLqxGhbzpA
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) June 29, 2023
Fast forward a couple of months and the pair are back at it after Hamilton criticized Verstappen’s lack of competition from his teammates.
— Sportskeeda F1 (@SportskeedaF1) September 1, 2023
“In my personal opinion, Valtteri [Bottas], and actually all my teammates, have been stronger than the teammates that Max has had,” Hamilton said. “You know, Jenson [Button], Fernando, George [Russell], Valtteri, Nico [Rosberg]. You know, all these guys have all been very strong, very consistent, and Max is not racing against anyone like that.”
Hamilton did win two championships as a teammate of 2016 series champion Nico Rosberg. Though the other five came alongside Heikki Kovalainen and Valterri Bottas, neither of whom have won a series championship.
Verstappen was teammates with Sergio Perez for each of his title. Perez, who has not won a series crown, is also his teammate this season.
Verstappen has not yet responded to Hamilton’s comments.