Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen fought fierce battles in the past and were at each other’s throats especially in karting. In 2022, however, the two suddenly seem like good friends, but the question is how long will that last?
Friends in F1
When Verstappen was asked last weekend if he enjoyed fighting with Ferrari for once, a remarkable quote came out of his mouth. For one, the Dutchman enjoyed driving with drivers of his generation with whom he gets along well. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc he meant, but especially the latter was a surprise.
That Sainz and Verstappen get along is well known. The Dutchman and the Spaniard debuted together at Toro Rosso in Formula 1 and fought an internal duel, but there was never a real war. Now that the two drive for other teams, they still get along well.
Relationship with Leclerc
With Leclerc it was always different. Leclerc and Verstappen knew each other from karting and drove each other off the track more than once. The video in which an angry Jos and Max Verstappen walk away from the track after Leclerc has won the race, is by now known to everyone.
In F1, the two also met again. In Austria 2019, Verstappen won the race at the expense of Leclerc by passing him just before the end. This was a hard action by Verstappen, who pushed Leclerc off the track. The stewards did not intervene and so a smiling Verstappen stood on the podium, and Leclerc with a very sour face.
In 2022, however, the two seem to be the best of friends in the paddock. So Verstappen is very happy to duel with his own generation, instead of Lewis Hamilton, but also describes Sainz and Leclerc as guys he gets along with. We also see this image after the race, where the two run into each other.
Footage from the paddock shows Verstappen congratulating Leclerc on his victory. After this the two talk extensively about the race and especially their mutual duel. It was an exciting duel for both drivers, who visibly enjoy it. The friendliness still prevails, but for how long?
Charles Leclerc y Max Verstappen comentando el papel que tuvo el rebufo y la recarga de batería en su batalla. El neerlandés también le explica el problema que tuvo en la dirección antes de abandonar. #F1 #BahrainGP pic.twitter.com/42ONQhypJ0
— Pablo Mena (@PMena_GP) March 21, 2022
Battle within Ferrari
It is clear that Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have built the best cars at the moment. Red Bull must ensure that the car can also cross the finish line, but then it could become an exciting duel for the title. An exciting title fight rarely improves a relationship between two drivers, especially as more and more risks are taken throughout the season.
Verstappen may have one advantage, and that is a chance for an internal battle within Ferrari. Sainz wants to be world champion just as much as Leclerc and that too could clash. As a result, there might be a fight internally rather than with the competitor. In 2007 we saw that such a situation does not help the team’s interest.