The talented duo have known and raced against each other for over a decade from karting all the way through to F1, and lit up a few races last season with their superb duelling, particular in the races in Britain and Austria.
Verstappen is known for his aggressive, swashbuckling style on the track and because of this, Leclerc knows he needs to match that level of intensity when they are close during a GP.
“I think we have improved a lot our relationship. 10 years ago in Kart things were different, now we have grown up,” he said.
“Our battle are close to the limit but this is what fans want.
“Rivalry is intense because we have grown up together and it is probably a more aggressive battle compared to me and Hamilton. I feel I get more aggressive when I fight with Max.
“But outside the track the respect is the same for Max and Lewis.”
On Hamilton, Leclerc reflected on a battle which they had at the Italian GP at Monza, which the Monegasque driver won, saying some words were exchanged after the battle.
“He said a dirty word but not in a negative way, probably he wasn’t happy but he said it laughing. He knows that those battles are part of the game,” he said, with reference to him holding Hamilton at bay in the latter stages.
“I respect him. I believe at the end the respect in sportsmen is the right attitude.”
After the conclusion of the 2019 season, Leclerc signed a new five-year contract with Ferrari to keep him with the Prancing Horse through 2024.
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