Verstappen talks Leclerc battles and being 'more Zen' in 2019

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Max Verstappen is sure his breathtaking duels with Charles Leclerc in 2019 were just the start of a long-term rivalry.

For many, the emergence of both youngsters was one of the big stories of the year with predictions now they can go and challenge the throne held by Lewis Hamilton for five of the past six years.

The catalyst for the excitement was their battle at Silverstone which saw the Dutchman win the FIA's Action of the Year award for his move around the outside at Club.

"A lot happened and it was very cool," Verstappen commented picking up the award in Paris.

"We went a bit out and our wheels had some contact, this does not happen a lot normally in Formula 1. I love it and if you win it is even more satisfactory than when you lose.

"Even since our go-karting time we had those battles and I am sure we will have more of that in the coming years. I think it is good for Formula 1."

The first flashpoint though had come a race earlier in Austria, where Verstappen flew through the field to pass Leclerc for victory in the closing laps.

And the Red Bull driver admitted that weekend in Spielberg was really the first to match expectations for 2019.

"Before Austria, we had some more difficult races and were not competitive enough," he explained. "But there we brought some updates to the car which seemed to work much better.

"Besides that, we made the right compromises with the car for the race, the car suddenly came to life during the race. Still it was quite unexpected.

"For the team it was a great boost of motivation and especially for Honda after all their hard years since their return to Formula 1. So this victory brought some relief."

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That would be the first of three victories in all this season and an eventual third place in the Drivers' standings and Max believes a key difference for him this year has been his attitude.

“This year I was a lot calmer in front of cameras. More Zen,” he told Ziggo Sport.

“Generally, that works better. I never throw things anyway as my father has never allowed it, but sometimes you cannot help being angry.

“That’s just being human but, if I am angry, I have learned to wait before I go in front of the cameras. When I was very angry, sometimes I skipped the media altogether. That was a problem, but I don’t do that anymore.”