Max Verstappen has poked fun at rival Lewis Hamilton’s involvement in a Chelsea takeover bid by saying: “I thought he was an Arsenal fan”.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton has been named as part of Sir Martin Broughton’s consortium hoping to buy the west London club.
Hamilton, who is gearing up for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, has declared himself as an Arsenal supporter on a number of occasions.
In an interview with the PA news agency, world champion Verstappen said: “I am a PSV fan and I would never buy Ajax.
“And if I was going to buy a football club I would want to be the full owner and to make the decisions myself, not own just a tiny percentage.
“I thought he was an Arsenal fan? And if you are an Arsenal fan going for Chelsea, that is quite interesting.
“But everyone does what they want with their money so let’s see what comes out of it.”
Verstappen controversially beat Hamilton to last year’s world championship, but following two retirements in the opening three races of his title defence, he already trails runaway leader Charles Leclerc by 46 points.
Verstappen and Leclerc, both 24, have gone head-to-head at every round so far.
But in contrast to his explosive battles with Hamilton last year, Verstappen and Leclerc have so far avoided contact.
One theory is that Verstappen has not been as aggressive in his duels with the Ferrari driver as he was with Hamilton.
“I didn’t know that people could speak for me,” said Verstappen. “I race exactly like I always race because that is how I am.
“Everyone is different in their defense or their attack, and so far Charles and I race very well together because we know where we want to place the car and how much room we need to leave each other. That works out really well for both of us.
“Charles is aggressive, too, and you can clearly see that. We have nice battles, but we don’t touch.”
Verstappen claimed his maiden championship following a thrilling season-long battle with Hamilton.
But a drastic overhaul in F1’s regulations and Mercedes’ failure to get on top of the changes has denied the sport a sequel. Is Verstappen disappointed?
“It is good to have two young guys fighting up the front in different cars,” the Dutchman replied. “And it is good for Formula One that the young guys are taking over a bit.
“It just shows that it is hard to get things right. Sometimes you nail a certain regulation and it always seems like you know and understand why that is.
“But clearly that is not always the case. Sometimes it is hit and miss, and with these new regulations Ferrari have started really well. Now it is up to us to close the gap.”
:Armor All is the Auto Cleaning and Care partner of Oracle Red Bull Racing. Visit the Armor All website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for expert tips and tricks on how you can keep your own car looking as good as the one driven by F1 world champion Max Verstappen.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.