Formula 1: Charles Leclerc's insight into Max Verstappen rivalry

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Austrian GP

Charles Leclerc has said it’s ‘great’ how mature his and Max Verstappen’s rivalry has been this year, though the Dutchman has ultimately won this season.

Max can win the world championship this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix, after stringing together a relentless run of wins whilst those around him have stumbled.

Indeed, Leclerc has suffered at the hands of some mistakes from his team but has also made his own errors, such as at the French Grand Prix when leading, and that has paved the way for Verstappen to nearly clinch a second crown.

READ MORE: HOW MAX VERSTAPPEN CAN WIN THE TITLE IN SINGAPORE


Leclerc and Verstappen’s ‘mature’ rivalry

leclerc and verstappen on austria podium
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 10: Race winner Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Second placed Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 10, 2022 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Leclerc and Ferrari will be eager to go again in 2023, of course, with them knowing that on their day they can compete with and beat Max and Red Bull, and the Monegasque has said he and Verstappen’s rivalry is now mature, compared to perhaps what it was when they were kids battling in the junior ranks.

“Max and I didn’t know at the time that we were going to get into F1,” Leclerc said to DAZN when reflecting on his past clashes with the Dutchman.

In karting, my biggest rival was probably Max. We were less mature, much younger, we took things more personally than we do now.

“Of course when you’re in the car, you never leave room for them to pass you or whatever. We do our best to keep each other behind. But we also know that drivers on the track are different people off the track. I think it’s fantastic that we both understand that.”

leclerc and verstappen at imola
IMOLA, ITALY – APRIL 22: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing (L) and Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari (R) look on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 22, 2022 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

There does seem to be a healthy respect between Leclerc and Verstappen and we have seen several examples of that being displayed this year.

Of course, it helps that Max is so far ahead and things are therefore far less intense than they were in 2021 between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, which makes you wonder what it would be like if and when Ferrari get their act together and really take the fight to Red Bull.

For now, though, there’s a healthy harmony between these two stars of the sport.


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