Max Verstappen wants to renew bitter Lewis Hamilton F1 rivalry as Mercedes improve – and says they do respect each other | The Sun

MAX Verstappen wants to renew his bitter rivalry with Lewis Hamilton – but insists the two racers do respect each other.

The gradual improvement of Mercedes has seen them pull closer to Red Bull after their early season struggles.

The pace disparity between the two teams means F1 fans have not seen much of Verstappen and Hamilton racing alongside each other this season.

This is in complete contrast to last year when the pair scrapped for the Driver's Championship in a bitter and explosive feud.

But the 24-year-old believes Mercedes are on the way back and can see himself going wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton again.

He told German TV channel Servus: "Last year's conflict was not necessarily between the drivers but more between the teams.

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"We are, of course, not fighting with Mercedes at the moment.

"I think it will be different if we fight each other again. Maybe at the end of the season. We'll see. [Hamilton and I] have a lot of respect for each other. If someone does well, you can of course just say that to each other.

"They are better than at the start of the year but they need just a little bit more. They are not bad over a single lap, but in the [Austrian Grand Prix] you saw we got away from them quickly.

"I think it also has to do with the different circuits. At Silverstone, they were very fast in the race. It's the same with us and Ferrari. It's about the details that can make the difference in the end."

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Mercedes have come on leaps and bounds since the early races of the season and have even been tipped to win the French Grand Prix by one pundit.

If they are back to fighting at the front, it could see Verstappen and Hamilton fighting on track again.

Their two major crashes last year were memorable flashpoints in the frantic title battle.

Hamilton received a 10 second penalty after his collision with the Dutchman left Verstappen flying into the wall at Silverstone a year ago.

And then in September Verstappen ended up on top of Hamilton after they came together at the Italian Grand Prix.

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