Max Verstappen “cannot be bothered” to allow this year’s title fight to descend into off-track “mind games” and says he will not rise to them even if rival Lewis Hamilton seeks to try to distract him.
After assuming the championship lead through his success at the Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen said that "actions speak louder than words" and he likes to do his talking “on the track” in an apparent response to comments materialising from the Mercedes camp.
He and Hamilton have always had a good relationship and when asked if he is prepared for the mind games will almost certainly come, he responded: “If they come. I mean, I can’t be bothered by it, to be honest, mind games.
“I think also Lewis said after the race he doesn’t want to play those things, so we just have to focus on what we have to do on the track, which I think we do, and it’s also the best.”
Despite retiring from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Verstappen retained his slender four-point championship lead over Hamilton after the Mercedes driver locked his brakes upon the restart and dropped out of the top 10.
Although both appear keen to avoid a war of words, Verstappen acknowledged that circumstances can always affect how drivers feel and ill-timed questions from the media could still cause issues.
He explained: “Whatever is said in here [the press conference room], it can be a bit emotional sometimes after or before the race and it also depends on how you get the question asked.”
Despite this, however, he feels the pair’s relationship can withstand any off-track issues and added: “It’s alright. I think Lewis and I really respect each other and I think that’s very important.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.