Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Ring, 2022Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Verstappen prefers title fight against Leclerc after Hamilton rivalry

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says he is enjoying his championship fight against Charles Leclerc more than last year’s often bitterly fought contest with Lewis Hamilton.

In brief

Verstappen enjoying fight against “well-respected” Ferrari team

Asked in an interview for Sky how this year’s title battle compares to last year’s, Verstappen said: “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.”

Verstappen says he also gets on well with long-time Ferrari figures such as Mattia Binotto, the team principal, and Gino Rosato. “Even Mattia, I have a really good relationship with him, and not only Mattia, even Gino running around, we always have a good laugh.”

AlphaTauri confused by lack of pace, says Gasly

After AlphaTauri ended the first day of practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix towards the bottom of the times, Pierre Gasly said the team needs to understand why they are struggling for pace around the Hungaroring.

Gasly finished the second practice session in 15th on the times, 1.2 seconds off Leclerc’s best pace, while team mate Yuki Tsunoda was even slower, down in 19th place at the end of running.

“I was actually pretty happy with my lap,” said Gasly. “I managed to put a good lap together in FP2, but in terms of performance, we are not there. So we need to understand.

“It’s not like a massive issue with the car balance, but just in terms of grip we’re sliding too much. We’ll have to see what we can improve for tomorrow to gain some performance and hopefully fight for Q2 here.”

Powell secures first pole of W Series season

Alice Powell took her first pole position for the 2022 W Series season at the Hungaroring, beating Beitske Visser to secure the top spot on the grid for today’s race.

Powell’s best lap of a 1’42.986 was good enough to put her ahead of Visser by two tenths of a second, with Nerea Marti and Marta Garcia starting behind on the second row.

Championship leader Jamie Chadwick will start fifth, following her worst qualifying performance of the season so far. Chadwick has won all five rounds of the season so far and will be chasing her eighth consecutive W Series race win in Hungary this afternoon.

F1 22 players to get extra tracks free

Extra tracks are coming to the official Formula 1 game F1 22, Codemasters have confirmed. Speaking on The Racing Line, Matthew Skingle revealed extra circuits will soon be coming to the game.

“We will be adding additional tracks to F1 22,” he said. “What they are, I cannot reveal at this moment in time. But what I can say is that they will be free for all players. So as long as you’ve got a copy of F1 22, you can download the additional tracks free of charge.”

Autodromo do Algarve, which F1 visited in the previous two years, and the Shanghai International Circuit which last held a grand prix in 2019, are among the tracks tipped to feature.

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Comment of the day

With Haas’ major upgrades for this weekend drawing cynicism from some that the team’s car is now simply a ‘White Ferrari’, @tifoso1989 believes emulating their race-winning partners is the obvious approach to take…

It’s worth to mention that Alpine were the first to copy Ferrari’s sidepods concept. As for Haas and since they are sourcing as much as the rules permits in terms of non listed parts and with former senior Ferrari personnel in charge of the car’s design, it’s logical for them to go down the Ferrari design route since it proved to be the best interpretation of the 2022 regulations.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cyanide, George Tunnicliffe, Nick Kyriakakos and Pier-Antoine Giguere!

On this day in motorsport

  • 50 years ago today Jacky Ickx mastered the Nurburgring again for his final F1 win, leading a Ferrari one-two

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Will Wood
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38 comments on “Verstappen prefers title fight against Leclerc after Hamilton rivalry”

  1. Max setting the foundation for when he decides to ditch Red Bull. Well played

  2. Max is driving very differently this year and is also racing Leclerc very differently to how he raced Lewis.

    You look at things like Turn 1 at Imola or Spain last year where he just drove in and squeezed lewis off or the divebomb on Lewis at the chicane in Abu Dhabi. There’s been none of that so far with Leclerc.

    He’s not taken those more risky moves that depend on the other guy avoiding the collision. He’s leaving Charles room and not taking as much risk.

    I think he has more respect for Charles than he did Lewis and it shows when he’s racing them.

    1. I think the new racing guidelines have encouraged Charles and Max to keep it cleaner than last year.

      Also, let’s face it–there is no challenge from Ferrari so Max is having an easier time of it

    2. He’s not taking the risky moves because he does not need to. It’s easy for him to take this line on this year’s championship because it’s pretty much already in the bag for him. He does not need to “fight” at the moment. He can afford to take zero risks at this stage. There is no need to battle to the bitter end for each point. He has the gauge of Charles. Their car and team are out-performing Ferrari. They just have to keep that consistent performance.

      Last year he had to fight bitterly for every point. If he dropped the ball, Hamilton was there to make gains. The pressure of that was extreme. Mercedes were, albeit a few rusty muck-ups, piling the pressure on and operating slickly, the cars were equally reliable. He and Hamilton pushed each other for every single point at every stage of the season.

      So, when you consider that, of course he is going to say he prefers this season. He can afford to respect charles this year because they have not come to blows yet.

      1. Say what you want but earlier in the season Charles was well ahead (mostly due to mech failures at RBR) and the respect was still there. No doubt which was the toxic element last year.

    3. IMHO there is a factor that underlines this difference: the way VER tackled HAM last season was cemented in all their previous encounters where, because Lewis was always concerned with ROS and VET, he caved every single time VER took his elbows out.

      So, wheel-to-wheel wise, VER asserted dominance over HAM through a long time. It took until Silverstone-21 for him to do something about it. By then, though, the well was already poisoned. I’m not sure if there’s going back for them after their toxic battle.

      With LEC, on the other hand, Max knew from the get go exactly what he is capable of, which is, to fight back just as ruthless as him. They have history, lots of inshidents, grown together as drivers, and because of that they surely learned to respect each other even though they remained fierce rivals.

      Still, I wouldn’t put my hand on fire over their camaraderie.

    4. The ONLY reason VER is behaving differently than last year is because he is staring down the barrel of a race ban which is a direct consequence of the way he raced last year. He also stands a good chance of winning his first legitimate title this year.

      1. There’s hardly any title more legitimate than 2021, mercedes was marginally the best car!

        1. Lol, new to F1 eh…

  3. Neil (@neilosjames)
    30th July 2022, 0:50

    Suppose title fights are more fun when the other team helps you out so much… almost approaching thank you card territory.

    I much prefer a title race without the pathetic off-track (and on-track) behaviour we saw in 2021, though. Hopefully it’ll stay pleasant and respectful if Leclerc closes the gap and they end up in a proper, close title fight towards the end of the season.

    1. 2021 was just too toxic and the controversy of Masi’s last lap actions kinda ruined the whole season-put a massive stain on it

  4. I saw that Verstappen fans were setting fire to Lewis Hamilton merchandise and effergies at the track today.

    The level of hatred they seem to hold for Lewis seems completely unnecessary and over the top.

    It’s not every Dutch or Max fan obviously but they unfortunately give a very bad impression of that fanbase with there behaviour.

    I’ve never known the F1 fanbase be so full of hatred, division and disrespect towards others as i see now.

    1. Luke DAnastasi
      30th July 2022, 3:54

      I think it’s more pronouced because its the 7 time world champion vs the younger guys coming through.

    2. @PeterG Setting on fire, really?

      1. A person somewhere
        30th July 2022, 7:57

        Supposedly so, though it might have just been the one guy and the one hat with somewhat overblown reporting:

        1. A person somewhere
          30th July 2022, 7:59

          Ah well there was a twitter link there when I submitted it, anyway it showed one guy (from a distance) holding a burning hat.

  5. Max likes to drive vs Charles its more than obvious since they are friends its like Michael and Mika.

    1. But when a rivalry gets intense enough, you can also stop being friends, see hamilton and rosberg.

  6. The only, the ONLY reason Max feels so positively is because they really aren’t a challenge and trip over themselves at every opportunity. If it was tight, if it was an actual challenge…the same vitriol would be there. Ferrari own goals it so much of course it’s respectful lol.

    And people will eat this quote up like it means anything other than I can lose all the rest of the season and still win the championship.
    Like the guy above said, this is more of a thank you card than anything else.

    1. While I partially agree, there’s a subtle difference: hamilton was winning every title, and mercedes even more so, before verstappen finally got a car to challenge them, and verstappen has also been vocal before about hamilton having a dominant car for many years, which example verstappen or leclerc never had, plus he was still trying to win his first title, I think even if it got close it wouldn’t be the same level of vitriol against leclerc.

    2. This.

      And since Max got his first WDC he doesn’t need to be that agressive anymore, he is not a challenger anymore.

  7. Hopefully, some more rarely used tracks like Jerez, Fuji, Mugello, etc.

    The first time a rabbit has entered a live track.

    Nice card.

    COTD: Indeed.

    On this day: 2017 Hungarian GP.

  8. Well done on your 2nd (well deserved) CotD in 3 days.
    I’m sure it will be mentioned Monday in the Numbers and Statistics article ;)

    1. I couldn’t believe it till I saw it :) All my COTD are Ferrari related which is quite telling. I need to be more rational and unbiased when commenting on the other teams especially Mercedes !

      1. Especially your Friday CotD was very strong; you show you can be critical of your own team as well.

  9. Of course he is enjoying the battle with Ferrari, he is coasting to the title while Ferrari blow up.

    Ferrari are no where near Mercedes’ juggernaut team, hence why the battle last year was controversial.

    If Ham was driving a Ferrari this year, Max’s comments would be different as , Lewis would be leading the championship.

    Lastly, Max driving for Mercedes is completely shut so saying nice things about Ferrari leaves the door open, hence doing the interview with Sky Italia.

    1. I don’t think hamilton would be leading, he can’t do anything about unreliability, unless he could make the right decision strategy wise when the team let him down, like monaco or silverstone.

  10. This year’s title battle feels a lot more good-natured for a variety of reasons, but I think a big contributing factor is that the most toxic element of the online fandom is not involved.

    1. The most toxic element is the Max camp. The only big factor is what everyone here has said – there’s no battle this year.

      1. I don’t think it’s the fandom (some elements are clearly still online).
        Neither do I think it’s the points gap as he was well behind initially.

        I think the biggest difference is the more (still not perfect) consistent race management.
        The rules are much clearer now.

  11. Lendeu Siewe
    30th July 2022, 10:23

    Of course he’d say that. Ferrari are handing him the title on a platter of gold. He doesn’t need to dive bomb anybody, or run anyone off the track, or brake test a relentless opponent. That said, Max is a generational talent. He rarely ever makes any mistakes and does not seem to ever have an off day. Charles is good but unless he cuts out mistakes like the one he made in France, he will always come up short against Max, especially with a circus like Ferrari backing him. This year’s championship is a wrap.

  12. The main difference is that LecLerc is a fair and clean racer who knows when to give way to a faster car.
    Ham just used to be a greasy cling-on, having to stick the corner out at all costs and risking his own race. ’21 Silverstone and Monza are prime examples of his lack of race intelligence.

    1. Greasy cling -on? This is a pretty stupid take.

  13. Tiaki Porangi
    30th July 2022, 10:37

    “Those who want respect, give respect.”
    – Tony Soprano.

  14. Shock answer, Verstappen prefers no challenge in his title fight. He’ll be back to his over the top driving whenever things get tight again.

    1. That makes sense though, why would you take risks when you have a big points gap? When things get tight, you will risk more.

  15. I think a lot of it is down to the leadership shown from the top. Binotto doesn’t get involved in the public pre and post race squabbles that Horner and Wolff used to and appears able to remind his drivers that they are representing Ferrari which includes being respectful of the brand and the competition. Preferring to focus on themselves rather than others.

  16. Thanks for the COTD !

Comments are closed.