Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has detailed why he enjoys battling with Max Verstappen as he compared going wheel-to-wheel with Lewis Hamilton and his title rival. Leclerc believes it is “inevitable” that they’ll crash again.
Hamilton and Verstappen clashed for the second time two weeks ago at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix with both drivers ending up in the gravel on lap 26 of the race.
Hamilton was left in “some pain” after the right rear of Verstappen’s Red Bull made contact with his helmet, meanwhile, the Dutchman was criticised for not checking on his main title rival in the aftermath.
However, it was the second crash of the season for the pair, who had a huge coming together at the British Grand Prix on the opening lap of the race.
Hamilton was able to continue in that rice while Verstappen was speared off into the tyre wall at over 150mph, suffering a 51G crash.
But Leclerc was philosophical about their two styles and admitted he enjoys being up there battling with them.
“They have two different styles,” said Leclerc. “Max is a bit more on the aggressive side, Lewis a bit more on the clean side. It’s nice to be fighting with both of them.
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“Lewis is always very, very clever in the way he positions his car to put you in a difficult situation. And he most of the time manages to make the pass in a clean way.
“Max is a little bit more aggressive.
“But I enjoy racing with both, and if anything I quite like fighting with Max because it’s always really on the limit.”
Hamilton is currently looking to become the most decorated driver in Formula One history, and over the past few seasons has looked untouchable in the Mercedes, winning four consecutive titles.
Verstappen meanwhile is hungry for his first title in Formula One, with Red Bull producing a potentially world title-winning car since 2013.
However, tensions have been building between the pair, with on and off-track discussions taking place between teams and drivers.
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And Leclerc says he “wouldn’t be surprised” if they clash again before the season ends.
“They are fighting for the championship as we are fighting for our positions which are not the top ones in the championship,” said Leclerc.
“We also don’t give much margin whenever I’ve got Lando [Norris] or one of the McLarens with me.
“It’s the same for them fighting for the championship, if not even more.
“It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Speaking ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton said he wouldn’t entertain such thoughts.
“I’m just not putting any energy towards that [crashing again],” began Hamilton.
“I’m just focusing on literally putting all the energy to move forwards and, naturally, we’re battling for a championship.
“I remember what it was like battling for my first championship and obviously I’m fighting for something like my tenth battle or something like that.
“But I remember what it was like and I know the pressure that comes with it, and the experiences that go with it so I can empathise with that.
“I think what’s important is that we just continue to race hard but fair, and I have no doubts that we will both be professional and learn from the past.”