As Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are fiercely battling for first place in the drivers’ standings, the Dutch driver answered the critics concerning his driving style, as he hopes they will both keep the battle as clean as possible until the end of the season.

The F1 grid is preparing for the Monaco Grand Prix, taking place on the narrowest and shortest track of the calendar. During their last outing in Spain, Verstappen and Hamilton narrowly avoided a dramatical double DNF when the Dutch driver dived down the inside of his championship rival during the first lap of the race.

So far, and after four races at which they always went wheel to wheel with each other, both men kept the battle clinically clean, only slightly touching each other at Imola. This respectful battle was made possible by reasonable decisions of the two rivals.

Nonetheless, Verstappen has encountered some criticism towards his driving style this week. Hamilton, for example, mentioned that the Dutch probably had a lot to prove, pointing out his aggressive move at turn 1, in Spain.

McLaren’s CEO, Zak Brown also spoke his mind about the topic, suggesting that it was just “a matter of time” before both men would bump into each other during a Grand Prix.

Verstappen reacted to these critics, saying that it takes two to tango and that Hamilton was not the only one paying attention and avoiding the contacts, like the seven-time world champion seemed to imply.

“Nope, I have nothing to prove,” Verstappen said.

“And avoiding contact, I think it goes both ways. So we have done well, that’s true.”

“But we race hard, we’ve avoided contact both sides, so let’s hope we can keep doing that and keep being on track and racing hard against each other.”

In 2019, Hamilton and Verstappen touched each other as they were fighting for the lead at the new chicane. Aggressive moves at Monaco can sometimes pay off but are always extremely risky and the two championship contenders will have to be very careful and respectful if they want to avoid the worst.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel also took part in the debate as he praised the current on-track attitude of both men, pointing out how demanding it is to handle cars at such speeds and that having been able to keep their battle so clean throughout the first four Grand Prix of the year was a class act from both men.

“One thing that people outside don’t seem to understand is how close it is sometimes and how easily things can go wrong without having any intention,” Vettel said.

“So far, they have done really well, and I think it shows the class that they both have. I don’t see why you’re so excited to wait for a crash. I think you should be so excited that they managed to race that close and intense without crashing.”

“Nobody goes into an overtake wanting to take the other car out or himself out because the risk of getting it wrong is just so high.”

“That’s the skill, not crashing.”

“But then you want to get past sometimes or then defend your position, and you’re playing with very little margins, and it’s taking so little to get it wrong.”

Hello there! My name is Thibault and I am a French motorsports fan. Hope you'll like my articles :)