David Coulthard explains how ‘special’ Max Verstappen caused ‘fires’ for Lewis Hamilton

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Former F1 driver David Coulthard has compared his own driving style to reigning world champion Max Verstappen’s, admitting he would “weigh up” options rather than just taking a risk like the Dutchman. Verstappen poured the pressure on Lewis Hamilton throughout the season, often refusing to yield on track as the pair went wheel-to-wheel race after race.

It all came down to the final lap of the final race of the season before we found out who would be the world champion in one of the most controversial ends to a Formula One season ever seen.

The Dutchman has often been in hot water for his aggressive driving style and his outspoken comments, but Coulthard believes that’s all part of the package in becoming a world champion and beating the best.

Speaking to Channel 4, Coulthard said: “The way he [Verstappen] drives, the thing that I find most impressive…[if] there’s a gap, he goes for it, it’s not even a doubt.

“I used to weigh up ‘should I risk it now, should I not risk it’, he just goes ‘I can see the biscuit’ he risks it for the biscuit, he just goes, it really is quite special.

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“And when you actually see how Lewis is defending against that, Lewis is an exceptional racing driver, but he’s had to open the door on more than one occasion because he’s come up against if he’s fire, he’s come up against fire, and how do you fight fire?”

The Red Bull driver pushed Hamilton to the limit in 2021, in what the 36-year-old has described as “aggressive” driving by his rival.

Despite years of experience and seven titles under his belt, there was a clear change of tactics from Hamilton to defend hard against Verstappen throughout the year.

Speaking ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, McLaren’s Lando Norris felt we’d seen a “new side” from Hamilton.

“I think you’ve definitely seen a new side of Lewis this year,” Norris said, speaking to Express Sport. “he’s in a proper battle with someone, and that someone is also someone much younger.

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“That definitely changes a little bit of just how someone would think.”

When asked how it may change him, Norris responded: “Not sure, I’m not in that position. I don’t know, but it would.

“If you knew you were racing someone who was 36 like Lewis, but then you realise he’s 24-year-old, then, of course, you’ll think he’s doing very well for being such a young age and so on.

“I don’t know what it would make you think, but you would think of it at some point, and if you think about it, there’s going to be an effect from it.

“It’s tricky because if Max was just doing well, but not challenging Lewis, I think you’d get much more of the ‘he’s a great driver, he’s doing really well, hopefully, he can challenge me at some point,’ but of course when he’s suddenly there, it changes a lot.”

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