Fighting with Hamilton
In 2021 the battle between Hamilton and Verstappen was fierce. The Dutchman smelled his first chance at a world title and showed in many moments that he was not impressed by the seven-time world champion. Moments in Jeddah and Brazil stand out as perhaps over-the-top actions, but it starts in Barcelona and Imola, Verstappen showed early in the season that he had no intention of giving the Briton even an inch of space.
That approach, where Red Bull Racing's driver ran his car all the way to the outside on the inside, not shying away from contact with the rival, is not what Hughes sees in duelling with Leclerc. According to the F1 journalist, the two have already had several duels in which Verstappen had the chance to be more aggressive, but this time kept clean racing.
The calmness of a world champion
That this would be down to the opponent Hughes disputes, as in 2019 Verstappen was also heavy-handed in the duel with Leclerc in Austria. The F1 journalist has more of an idea that Verstappen really wanted to prove himself in 2021. After years of having less material, he was finally able to compete and wanted to make his mark immediately.
Now that Verstappen has the world title in his pocket, Hughes sees a clear difference in Verstappen's racing style. The Dutchman has been asked about it several times, but always waved the questions away. According to the Dutchman, there is no question of a changed driving style, but Hughes does not believe that. ''But maybe one day, he’ll feel like explaining the change of style'', he concludes his column.