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How Hamilton/Verstappen relationship remains unchanged despite title fight

The battle for the 2021 World Championship remains as intense as ever, but Tom Clarkson – who conducts the driver press conference interviews at Grand Prix weekends – has been left surprised by the very relaxed off-track dynamic between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Whilst Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen continue to go head-to-head in what has proved to be a fierce title battle, it seems that their off-track relationship has remained surprisingly unchanged. The fight for the 2021 World Championship has involved some controversial racing incidents between the pair, including their collision at the British Grand Prix and then another crash at Monza. This might lead to the assumption that tension has developed away from the circuit, yet journalist Tom Clarkson – who conducts the driver press conference interviews at Grand Prix weekends – admits he is surprised by just how relaxed Hamilton and Verstappen continue to be with each other. "There's so much respect still," Clarkson told the F1 Nation podcast. "When you see them together, certainly in my little world in the press conference room, there is genuine respect. "The banter is free-flowing. After qualifying [at the Turkish Grand Prix], Lewis was asking Max about what it's like to live in a house with a young child. Of course, Max's partner, Kelly, has a young child. "Just easy banter between them." Clarkson had been anticipating a change in the dynamic between the title rivals at this point of the season, but believes that they have retained a level of respect for each other despite what might have happened on the circuit. "I was kind of hoping there'd be a bit of an edge by this point in the season," Clarkson joked. "But I genuinely think there isn't, because the respect is so genuine." This is not the first time that Clarkson has observed Hamilton and Verstappen sharing a casual chat, with the drivers having previously had a discussion about Hamilton's hair before the cameras were switched on. Whether this amiable relationship continues as the season – and title fight – heads into the last six races of the year remains to be seen.

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