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Verstappen v Leclerc - Why F1 title rivals "hated" each other

Verstappen v Leclerc - Why F1 title rivals "hated" each other

F1 News

Verstappen v Leclerc - Why F1 title rivals "hated" each other

Verstappen v Leclerc - Why F1 title rivals "hated" each other
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Charles Leclerc has revealed the reason why he and F1 title rival Max Verstappen "hated each other" during their junior racing days.

The Ferrari driver has made an exceptional start to the new era of F1 with two wins and a second-place finish in the first three races and holds a 34-point lead over his nearest challenger in Mercedes driver George Russell.

But it has been reigning F1 champion Verstappen who has been Leclerc's closest challenger albeit let down by his latest Red Bull that has resulted in two retirements and a 46-point deficit to the Monégasque.

During their karting careers, the duo were bitter rivals, leading to Leclerc explaining how such animosity was created due to their collaborative dominance in their series.

"It is going to be very close [this year]," said Leclerc. "It has always been very close, especially in the junior categories and in karting."

Laughing, Leclerc added: "I remember it was either me or him and that was why we hated each other at one point because very often it didn't end in the best way possible. But yeah, it is good times.

"In which part I am stronger or not, I don't know. I think we just have two very different styles of driving. Sometimes one will win, sometimes the other might but it is fun. I like it."

Leclerc - "Too early" to think about title

Leclerc's current advantage over Russell is already two points better off than the greatest gap between Verstappen and Hamilton last season.

Asked if the dominant lead was beginning to play on his mind, Leclerc replied: "No, I don't think about it now, at least.

"Probably in seven or eight races, I will start to think about the championship if we still are in the same position but for now it is too early."

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