Charles Leclerc has commented on why his current battles with Max Verstappen might be viewed as "less aggressive" than anticipated, stressing that it is down to the "respect" they now hold for each other. Earlier this season, Leclerc admitted that he and Verstappen "hated each other" during their karting days, as the pair climbed the motorsport ladder together. However, so far this season, and in the wake of a fierce scrap between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in 2021, the race for the F1 title has largely been a clean one. After several wheel-to-wheel fights, but no collisions, Verstappen holds a 38-point lead over Leclerc in the Drivers' standings.
Leclerc "loving" his developing fight with Verstappen
Asked about the battle between Verstappen and Hamilton, and how his experience of racing the Dutchman compares, Leclerc offered a philosophical response. "I mean, honestly, on the battle of Max and Lewis, I've got nothing to say," Leclerc told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I wasn't in that battle and, unfortunately for me, I was fighting for less interesting positions last year! "But the fight with Max [and myself this season], obviously I love it."
Leclerc: You can argue that it's less aggressive
Leclerc added that while there was plenty of animosity between himself and Verstappen in previous years, their frosty relationship has thawed significantly. "We've known each other since a very long time [and] it's always racing on the limits," the Monegasque continued. "You can argue that this year is a bit less aggressive than normal with the fights between us, but we've grown also throughout the years. "We know each other's weaknesses, we know each other very well, and that's what makes it exciting – but there's a lot of respect."