"You don't take as many risks" - Charles Leclerc reveals why his title fight was different from Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton
Charles Leclerc recently talked about why his battles with Max Verstappen were not as intense as the rivalry the Red Bull driver had with Lewis Hamilton last season.
In an interview for the Motorsport Aktuell magazine, Charles Leclerc explained why there was a comparative lack of animosity between the title protagonists this year and why the racing was a lot cleaner.
Leclerc reasoned that one of the reasons was that most of the time, either of the two had a sizeable lead, and hence they were trying to defend that and not do anything crazy. This differed sharply from the Max vs Lewis battles, which were neck and neck throughout the year.
"We know each other very well. But I don't think that was the reason why it was quieter between us. I think the difference with Max vs Lewis last year is that, we were at different points in the season. Our battles were at the beginning of the year. After that, either I had a big lead in the championship or Max was way ahead. You don't take as many risks."
Looking ahead to the 2023 season and a possible renewal of the rivalry, he added:
"So it was more down to the nature of the championship. If we fight to the end in 2023, I believe that a tougher battle will be played out."
Not everyone is happy that Max Verstappen is winning!
Damon Hill, in a recent edition of the F1 Nation podcast, talked about how winning puts a target on your back in F1. With Max Verstappen winning as much as he is, the grid will be targeting him now, according to the Brit.
Talking about Max Verstappen, Hill revealed that the Dutch driver has seen a few jabs thrown his way already this season. He said,
"Max has experienced that a little bit this year; they've been trying to take a dig and poke to see if there's any weaknesses here and there, and it's been stressful from that point of view. You want respect for the work you do and the hard work it takes to win. But not everyone's going to be happy you're winning, and that's just a sad fact of life."
Max Verstappen had an arguably straightforward path to the title this season. He had to overcome a major obstacle early in the season but was able to bounce back from that and then dominated the season. Unlike last season where the title battle against Lewis Hamilton was quite intense, this season it was far more comfortable against Charles Leclerc.