The two were fierce rivals on the karting scene, with a video of a heated exchange between the drivers following an incident going viral on social media upon their entrance to F1, reigniting their rivalry.
While the pair have had large success in the sport, Verstappen has proved to be the superior, claiming three consecutive world titles and 54 victories, while Leclerc has amassed five wins and 23 pole positions.
Verstappen: I knew Charles would make it to F1
Speaking after Leclerc pipped him to pole position in Las Vegas, Verstappen said: “I always thought that, if I would make it to F1, Charles will also make it. You can see already from, I think, a young age, the really strong drivers, what they were back then, they are also in F1 now.
“It’s never been a surprise to me that Charles is sitting here and, of course, after that you need a little bit of luck to be in the right team here and there to get on the front row, but it’s not a surprise that we are sitting here together, I think.”
Offering his view, Leclerc added: “No, same. But at the same time, obviously when you are young, and you are in karting, F1 feels so far away that, for me it was obviously not a given that I will finish in F1 one day.
“I think we knew that we were very fast because we were already competitive in karting and whenever we change categories, we will always be competitive – but it’s still such a long way off F1 that you don’t really imagine yourself in F1 yet.
“But it’s amazing. I mean I have really, really good memories. Other memories that are less good but became really good with time! You get older and you look back on moments that maybe you didn’t enjoy at the time that are very funny. It was good times.”
Verstappen will be heading into 2024 looking to make it his fourth world title in a row, while Leclerc will be hoping to grab his first title having finished fifth in 2023.
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