Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
The lead in the title race has switched back and forth all season.Mark Thompson/Getty Images
  • F1 world champion Max Verstappen has admitted he sometimes hated Lewis Hamilton during their fierce battle.
  • Verstappen won the title, emerging victorious in contentious circumstances at the final race.
  • "Sometimes we did hate each other, but that's fine. That's the competitive spirit of both of us."

New Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has admitted he hated Lewis Hamilton at points during the season.

The two drivers were the protagonists of a thrilling season-long title race with Verstappen being crowned champion in the final race.

Speaking to the BBC, Verstappen said that so intense was the rivalry that there was true hatred between the men at points in the season.

Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

"You look each other in the eye," he said. "You don't say a lot but you do relate a lot and you really appreciate the fight.

"Sometimes we did hate each other, but that's fine. 

"That's the competitive spirit of both of us. He is an incredible driver."

Verstappen won the title in controversial circumstances with a late safety car call from the race director setting up a one-lap shootout between the two title contenders.

Hamilton looked to be cruising to victory with a 10 second lead and just seven laps to go.

However, after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed just a handful of laps before the end of the race, the safety car came out, completely erasing Hamilton's lead.

It looked like the season would end under a safety car, meaning Hamilton would win regardless. But race director Michael Masi decided to attempt a single lap of racing.

Masi contentiously allowed a handful of lapped cars which had ended up between Hamilton and Verstappen on the track to unlap themselves, meaning that it was a straight fight between the two drivers.

The call was controversial, as under normal circumstances, all lapped cars are usually allowed to unlap themselves, or none are.

After Masi's call, Red Bull driver Verstappen was on fresh tires so was able to ease his way past the defending Hamilton much to the disapproval of the Brit who said it had been "manipulated."

Verstappen though said the slice of luck was deserved following their season.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Hamilton was speaking to his race engineer when he made the claim that the race ending had been "manipulated."Clive Rose/Getty Images

"We have won it on track," he said. "People say it was a lucky win. Absolutely, the win was very lucky.

"But we also have been very unlucky throughout the season, otherwise the championship would have been decided way earlier, even with the dominance Mercedes had towards the end of the season.

"I'm like, 'Well, sometimes a little bit of luck in your life is nice as well.'"

Earlier in the season Verstappen suffered a number of unfortunate incidents, including a crash while leading the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which one of his tires suffered a catastrophic failure, cannoning him into the wall and ending his race.

He also crashed out at the British Grand Prix when him and Hamilton came together in a controversial incident, which many believe was a major turning point of the season. 

A post shared by Max Verstappen (@maxverstappen1)

The crash left Verstappen in hospital, and he criticized Hamilton's celebrations after the Brit subsequently claimed victory.

In the aftermath of the season decided at Abu Dhabi, Mercedes announced its intention to appeal the race result having seen its initial two protests turned down.

However, on Thursday, the German team announced it was dropping the appeal.

While not confirmed, it has been rumored that Hamilton asked Mercedes to drop the appeal, not wanting to win a record-breaking eighth world title in the courts, rather than on track.

Read the original article on Insider