The title rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is undeniably the biggest talking point of the season. Nobody anticipated this title rivalry prior to the 2021 season, at least not with such intensity.
And of course, when it finally happened, the fans heaved a sigh of relief after having spent watching most of the hybrid era being dominated by Hamilton. The battles were all respectful until the British Grand Prix, where Hamilton tapped his rival into the barriers, inducing spiciness into the rivalry.
Since then, there have been quite a few incidents, including the one in Monza. And this led the fans to wonder whether the on-track incidents caused the duo’s friendship to take a vicious hit. Well, the answer is ‘No’ according to Lewis’s father, Anthony Hamilton.
Speaking to talkSPORT, the Hamilton Sr considered Ferrari and McLaren drivers an example. All 4 drivers share an effective rapport off the track, but when it comes to racing, there is no room for camaraderie. Instead, it’s all about rivalry.
“It’s called competition. If you’re too friendly with your competitor then you ease off the gas a little bit too much. You only have to look further down the field yesterday between the two McLaren drivers and the Ferrari drivers. Those guys are friends,” he said.
Anthony further pointed out the incident between Daniel Ricciardo, and Carlos Sainz in Austin, where the latter called the former’s move ‘nasty’. “No, that’s not true. They’re fierce competitors,” he said. “Lewis is where Max wants to be, Max is where Lewis wants to be, they’re like boxers going into the ring.”
“This is racing. When you’re off the field you’re very friendly. When you’re in battle, all is fair in love and war,” Anthony added.
Anthony reckoned that when the season gets over, Hamilton and Verstappen will get back to being buddies, as the two are fierce competitors on the track but off the track, good friends.
Overall, the rivalry isn’t over as of yet. And it will certainly intensify as we head to the closing stages of the season. Hence, with a much bigger risk of crashes lingering over the two rivals, will their camaraderie actually take a turn towards animosity at some point this year?