Max Verstappen calls his battle against Charles Leclerc 'a bit unfair'

F1 Grand Prix of Austria
Charles Leclerc (16) leads Max Verstappen (1) on track during the 2023 F1 Austrian Grand Prix. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen recently said that he felt his battle with Charles Leclerc at the 2023 F1 Austrian GP was not very fair.

During the race, the Dutchman saw himself behind Charles Leclerc after coming out of the pits, which forced him to overtake the Ferrari to reclaim the lead. Lerclerc was unable to defend against the faster RB19 and the reigning world champion cruised past in no time.

Speaking at the drivers' press conference after the Austrian GP, Max Verstappen claimed that the battle for the lead was slightly unfair - not for him, but for his fellow F1 driver Charles Leclerc. He explained how the pace difference and tire advantage were just too much, allowing him to easily overtake the Ferrari driver.

"Yeah, I mean, it was good but also a little bit unfair," Verstappen said. "The tyre advantage I had as well and also the general pace advantage. But yeah, I mean, of course, Charles, he knows how to race. You could see that also last year, right, around here. But we were clearly just a bit faster today."

Max Verstappen is not a fan of 2026 F1 regulations

Max Verstappen recently shared his views on the F1 regulations for 2026. The FIA confirmed that 2026 will be the year where power unit regulation changes will take place, allowing teams to upgrade their engines and other core parts of the car, which are usually locked for a period of time.

Verstappen has voiced his opinion on the regulation changes, saying that the performance of a car will be too dependent on the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) - so much so that whichever team has a good engine will clearly dominate the sport.

The Red Bull driver said:

“That’s not the way forward, it looks like it’s going to be an ICE competition. So, whoever has the strongest engine will have a big benefit. It looks very bad, from all the numbers and what I see from the data already."

The Dutchman also stated that he prefers raw driver input to have more importance during the race rather than the systems and technology overriding driver decisions. He said:

"When you are behind someone maybe you need more front or more rear, this kind of thing. If the system starts to control that for you, I don’t think that’s the right way forward."

Only time will tell how the 2026 F1 regulations changes will play out. A few automotive manufacturers like Audi are also planning to join the sport, which could alter things further.

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Edited by Siddharth Dhananjay
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