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'Verstappen feels like he has to draw the line stronger with Hamilton'

'Verstappen feels like he has to draw the line stronger with Hamilton'

17-11-2022 16:15 Last update: 17:35


Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton's former teammate, was not surprised that the Briton was back in contention with his old rival Max Verstappen at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Finn notes a key difference in the battles between the Red Bull Racing driver and Hamilton, and Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Due to the W13's poor form, Hamilton could not compete for the world title this season, so we have also seen little on-track action between the Briton and Verstappen. In Brazil, we saw a solid battle between the rivals for the first time this season.

Just like last year in Brazil, the two drivers clashed. Verstappen received a five-second time penalty for the incident, but not everyone agreed with the race organisers' decision. Hamilton eventually crossed the finish line second, while the Red Bull Racing driver, after an extra pit stop due to damage to his RB18, finished in sixth position.

According to Kovalainen, neither driver wanted to give up the corner, while Hamilton did pull back in battle with Verstappen at the start of 2021. At Silverstone 2021, however, things went wrong when the Dutchman ended up in the wall and was even taken to hospital for checks. "I haven’t talked to Lewis about it and I don’t think he’d admit it but I think at Silverstone he decided that it had been enough of avoiding the collisions that Max had been asking for and he thought this time we’re going to draw a line", the Finn explains in conversation with TalkSport.

Difference with Leclerc and Hamilton

Hamilton's former teammate thinks the seven-time world champion had the same mentality of not shying away from Verstappen this time too. However, the Dutchman has mostly fought with Charles Leclerc on track this season. The two drivers have rarely clashed, but according to Kovalainen, that difference has nothing to do with respect, but with status.

"I just can’t help but feel that Max is feeling Charles isn’t as much of a threat as Lewis. Maybe Max feels like he has to draw the line stronger with Lewis, and Lewis is ready for that fight and also ready to draw a line", says the former Formula One driver.