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Verstappen hoping for less drama with Hamilton: It was not healthy

Max Verstappen is keen for a more peaceful 2022 season, after a relentlessly intense 2021 campaign fighting with Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen is hopeful the 2022 season won't result in the same level of drama and vitriol as the 2021 campaign, after a year spent locked in frantic battle with Lewis Hamilton. Amid plenty of on-track battling, including a few major collisions, the relationship between Verstappen and Hamilton became increasingly fraught as the year progressed – the breakdown only surpassed by that of Red Bull and Mercedes as tensions escalated. Capped off by a hugely controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen eventually won out in the Drivers' Championship, with Mercedes securing the Constructors' title. Having relaxed and recharged over the winter break, the Dutch driver is ready to race again in 2022, but admitted he doesn't want another year like 2021. "You can't have that drama every single year, for sure," he told UK newspaper The Guardian. " It's not good for me, it's not healthy for anyone in the team – both teams." But, having achieved his career goal of winning a World Championship, Verstappen explained that very little in his life has changed as a result. "Not for me at least," he said. "Once I get home I prefer to do the things I was doing before becoming champion."

Verstappen explains how championship pressure has vanished

With a World Championship win in his pocket as he prepares for the new season, Verstappen believes he'll be better equipped to deal with the pressures of a title fight at the next time of asking. "That little pressure in the back of your mind, of having to win a World Championship or trying to win it, has gone," he said. "It's already happened. I've done it. So when it's tough or you're having bad luck you probably will deal with it easier than normal." While the FIA are carrying out an investigation into the events of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen has already dismissed any concerns about what the report may reveal when it's released on 18 March. Heading into a new season as the World Champion at the start of a revolutionary ruleset in 2022, Verstappen added that he's not going into the next few years with the approach of trying to match Hamilton's achievements, despite being 13 years younger than his main rival. "If I never get to a number seven or number eight [title], it's fine," he commented. "You need a lot of luck to be in such a dominant position for such a long time. I just want to enjoy it and I know that, when I get to the track, I still want to win."

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