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Max Verstappen

Coulthard: Verstappen has got in the psyche of Hamilton

Formula 1 pundit David Coulthard says Max Verstappen has "got in the psyche" of Lewis Hamilton this year.

Verstappen Hamilton Abu Dhabi
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Formula 1 pundit David Coulthard believes Max Verstappen has built a psychological advantage over Lewis Hamilton when the pair are wheel-to-wheel.

Verstappen and Hamilton raced each other hard throughout the season, with the Dutchman coming out on top the majority of the time on his way to becoming the new Formula 1 World Champion.

The pair went side-by-side at each of the opening four races, whilst they clashed at Silverstone, Monza and Jeddah.

It was a thrilling season that went down to the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when Verstappen overtook Hamilton to steal the title amid huge drama.

A psychological advantage for Verstappen?

Coulthard feels Hamilton is wary of an inevitable Verstappen attack when the pair are in close combat, and this put the seven-time World Champion at a disadvantage.

"He's [Verstappen] an exceptional human, an exceptional athlete," Coulthard told Channel 4.

"He's brilliant and divisive. Who else do we know that's brilliant and divisive? Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, to name but a few. So some have been able to do it.

"In fairness to Lewis he's been able to win an amazing amount of championships in a very clean way. He hasn't really had too much controversy.

"With the might of Mercedes and Lewis, Max has had to arguably come with a different approach. His approach is, whenever there is a door partially open, he'll go for it.

"And Lewis has to keep opening up the door because he knows he's coming and that's got in the psyche of Lewis."

"Verstappen is quite special"

Verstappen is known for his attacking driving style which had divided opinion.

He arguably went over the limit in Jeddah and Brazil, but was widely applauded for his late-braking overtakes at the start of the Mexico City GP, and the end of the Abu Dhabi GP.

Coulthard, who won 13 races in F1, says Verstappen "fears nobody".

"Max has had to fight for it and has been a winner all the way through, skipping some of the lower formulas to come into Formula 1," said Coulthard.

"He fears nobody. That's not a part of his psyche. The thing that I find most impressive is, if there's a gap, he goes for it. There's not even a doubt.

"When I was racing, I used to weigh up, 'Should I risk it now, should I not risk it?'. He just goes for it. It really is quite special."

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