Johnny Herbert has been left “perplexed” and “disappointed” by comments made by Max Verstappen regarding his 2021 title battle with Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen enjoyed a famously close fight with Hamilton for the championship, with the Dutchman eventually emerging victorious at the controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The picture has changed in 2022, as Verstappen’s closest challenger this time is Charles Leclerc, while Hamilton and Mercedes have faced a tougher campaign.
Comparing the two seasons, Verstappen has claimed that he is enjoying his current battle with Leclerc more than that with Hamilton.
“I prefer what we have now because, first of all, Charles I know very well,” Verstappen told Sky Italy.
“He’s a nice guy, we are a similar age – I think we are only three weeks apart.”
Verstappen has also praised the relationship between Red Bull and the Scuderia.
“I think also we are fighting a very well-respected competitor in terms of Ferrari,” he continued.
“The way they go about the way we are fighting… when they win a race we can go to them and say well done, and when we win a race they can say well done, and I really respect that.”
Verstappen praises Ferrari/Red Bull fight
The 2021 World Champion cited a recent exchange with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto as an example of the camaraderie that the two sides share, something that he did not experience with Mercedes.
“Certain people within the team, even Mattia, I have a really good relationship with him,” Verstappen added.
“On Saturday night, we even had a laugh in Paul Ricard [at the French Grand Prix]and I think that’s great because that’s what racing should be about.
“We are hard competitors on the track and we will always try to beat each other, which I think is very normal, but outside of it you can have a good time as well, and that’s what I really enjoy about this year.
“Let’s say it like this, I would not be on a table on Saturday night having a laugh with [Mercedes].”
When asked why the current situation felt so different to that of 2021, Verstappen said: “Just the click we have at the moment with the team, and I have a lot of respect for Ferrari in general.”
Herbert finds Verstappen’s comments “disappointing”
Herbert felt that Verstappen’s remarks about his 2021 battle with Hamilton were “disappointing” for several reasons.
“[It was] disappointing, actually, in many respects,” the former F1 driver told sky sport f1.
“He seems to sort of just [have] dismissed Lewis straight away, and then he was straight onto Charles and Ferrari [and] the battle they’re having.
“I thought he was enjoying the battle they were having on track [last season]but clearly there, he wasn’t enjoying it at all.
“But I don’t understand why his comments would be so negative towards Lewis and the battle that they had last year. I’m quite perplexed.”