The rivalry between the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers will ramp up in the F1 2023 season, particularly if Hamilton has a car capable of challenging for Verstappen’s championship. The personal history between them will also come under the microscope again.
Verstappen was asked about Hamilton’s comment, when the Mercedes driver said: “People like to talk about there being problems between Max and me. I respect him. “He is a lot younger, so maybe he has a problem with me. But I am not sure about that and I actually assume not. Although I can’t speak for him.”
Verstappen’s response was: “I don’t have an issue with anyone. We all sat at that dinner in Abu Dhabi [for Sebastian Vettel’s retirement] and we all had a laugh with everyone, we all had a good time. So that’s okay.”
Verstappen addressed Hamilton’s possible return to the title battle: “From our side we can do better because in qualifying, most of the time [last year] we were not the quickest car. For the sport, everyone wants a title battle with multiple teams involved.”
Red Bull launched their RB19 car for the 2023 season in New York, which they hope will power Verstappen to a third consecutive title. Hamilton and George Russell’s W14 will be launched by Mercedes on February 15.