McLaren drivers hail energetic rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been praised for starting the Formula 1 Championship with their rivalry this season. McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo hailed the fierce battle Hamilton and Verstappen engaged in when unveiling the special Gulf Oil livery they will use on their cars at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton in the Mercedes and Verstappen in the Red Bull have experienced tight competition in all four races this season. The British world champion had the advantage, with three wins over Verstappen, and holds a slim 14 point lead in the world championship. Hamilton is 36 and has seven world championships, while Verstappen is 23 and this is the first time he has been in contention for the title. Their battles on the right track have been convincing.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who raced with Verstappen at Red Bull between 2016 and 2018, admitted their rivalry gave F1 a boost and proved that Hamilton was more than capable of measuring himself by his feet after enjoying a car for so long. very strong. Hamilton has won six of his titles with Mercedes in the past seven years – he has only been beaten once during that time by former teammate Nico Rosberg.

“It’s good for the sport,” he said. “It was a matter of time for Max, we all know what his talent looks like. Many people tip their hats to Lewis. He gets defeated and he holds on, showing people who doubted him why he is as good as him.

Verstappen took bold action on Hamilton, overtaking him at Imola and Barcelona last Sunday, squeezing him wide at the first corner. Hamilton returned however and overtook the Dutchman later in the race. Briton Norris also acknowledged his tough but fair competition.

“They are pretty even as drivers and they put on a good show,” he said. “Max opts for these opportunities like the first corner which was quite risky. Lewis knows that if he had surrendered they would have crashed because Max was quite engaged. But these are the opportunities that Max must seize. That’s what makes it fun.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown echoed the opinions of his drivers. “Lewis had a pretty easy race except his year with Nico,” he said. “It’s a great rivalry, Max pushed Lewis to progress. He’s definitely on his A-game. Lewis is a very smart pilot, you can see him sitting there waiting to knock and he’s not too impatient, that’s his experience. Rivalries are great in sports and having these two could create opportunities for us. It’s only a matter of time before they both are determined not to let the first turn go and neither to get out.

They were speaking as McLaren revealed their unique Gulf Oil livery for Monaco. The iconic orange and pale blue colors will adorn their cars at Monte Carlo, renewing their partnership with McLaren and making one of the most recognizable color schemes in motorsport in F1, just as McLaren will experience a resurgence in F1. The team is third in the constructors ‘championship, with Norris fourth in the drivers’ standings.

The team originally benefited from a partnership with Gulf between 1968 and 1974, in F1, IndyCar and Can-Am. They have earned seven F1 wins during that span and topped Can-Am with 35 wins. They then enjoyed another partnership between 1995 and 1997 where they had great success in sports car racing with the McLaren F1 GTR.

The livery will be instantly recognizable to many, having been used for the first time from the mid-1960s on some of the truly great sports cars including the Ford GT40 and Porsche 917, winning three of them three World Championships and three. victories at Le Mans. Pedro Rodríguez and Jo Siffert took victories in the Gulf 917 around the world, establishing the livery on a global scale and Briton Derek Bell claimed another victory at Le Mans in a Gulf Mirage Ford with his teammate Jacky Ickx in 1975 .

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