F1 world champion Max Verstappen has reiterated his belief that missing out on his maiden title would have been a more painful scenario than that experienced by rival Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver's future in the sport was, until this week, unclear after becoming "disillusioned" by the events that saw Verstappen snatch a last-lap opportunity to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December following a controversial safety car period.
Hamilton suggested the processes followed during the race had 'manipulated' the result and went into a social media absence, breaking his silence just last weekend.
Verstappen was able to make the move on the final lap to take his first championship and speaking to The Guardian regarding whether he would have been just as devastated were the roles reversed, the Dutchman said: “For me, it’s difficult to picture myself in that situation because I’m not a seven-time world champion.
"If I was already a seven-time world champion it hurts a bit less than when I am fighting for my first, leading all the way, controlling it all the way, and then losing it on the last lap. That would be way more painful than already having seven in the bag.”
When put to him how Hamilton felt having missed out on the record-breaking eighth title, Verstappen added: “Yeah, but just look back on the seven you have. I don’t think it’s so bad, is it?”
Continuing to explain that the pair haven't been in contact over the winter, the Red Bull driver said: “That’s quite normal.
"We live our own lives and see each other quite a lot already”.