Max Verstappen has played down the significance of his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton.
During the 2021 Formula 1 campaign, the duo endured a heated season as they went head-to-head for the title.
Having clashed on a number of occasions, the season ended in controversy with Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on the final lap to win the title following a questionable Safety Car restart procedure.
Verstappen has dominated the two seasons that have followed while Hamilton has endured a win drought with Mercedes slipping back in the order.
However, the seven-time World Champion has committed to the Mercedes project as he signed a two-year contract extension until the end of 2025.
Verstappen asserted that there are no overhanging emotions from their intense title fight.
“I don’t need that kind of rivalry,” he said, speaking to The Times.
“Of course we want to beat each other, but honestly, once we’re in a private setting it’s like just normal guys.”
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Verstappen has dominated the last two F1 seasons and now sits third in the all-time win list.
Four more titles would see the Dutchman match Hamilton's tally - however Verstappen is not making it his ultimate goal to achieve.
“If it happens, it happens,” he stated.
“But you need to be lucky to be in a great car for a longer period of time. You’re very dependent on the material you have.
“When I won my first title, I said, everything that comes next is a bonus because, realistically, in F1, I’ve achieved everything that I wanted to achieve.
“Being on the podium, having a pole position, winning a championship.
“These kinds of things were my dream to achieve in F1. From now on, I’m just, yeah, trying to stay on top.