Max Verstappen shared a bitter rivalry with Lewis Hamilton as they battled for the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. In 2022, Verstappen has a new title rival in Charles Leclerc, but the drivers have shown that they share good camaraderie outside the car.

The Red Bull Racing driver's rivalry with Hamilton spread to both the teams, and it took a nasty turn by the time the 2021 season came to a close. The battle between Ferrari's Leclerc and Verstappen has been cordial thus far this season, with even their on-track battles remaining clean unlike last year.

Verstappen collided with Hamilton on more than one occasion in 2021, with both drivers and team principals blaming each other. The latter even aimed a dig at the Dutch racer after praising Leclerc following their battle at the British Grand Prix earlier in the month.

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battled for the 2021 title Zak Mauger/POOL

The 2021 world champion brushed off the criticism, and has now revealed that his greater respect for Leclerc stems from their history of racing against each other. The Red Bull and Ferrari drivers have been fighting each other since the junior Formula days, and know each other's traits well.

Meanwhile, Verstappen only came up against Hamilton after moving to Red Bull in 2016. Mercedes' seven-time world champion was at his dominant best, while the Dutchman was the young pretender looking to de-throne the champion.

"It's all about margins, how much respect you have for each other on the track. I've known Charles for a long time, I've raced against him a lot more so I think we understand each other a bit better," Verstappen said, as quoted on GP Blog.

Charles Leclerc
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc POOL via AFP / Giuseppe CACACE

Verstappen and Hamilton are certain to battle each other again once Mercedes sort out their issues and get back on par with the two leading teams in 2022. However, despite their rivalry, the Dutchman criticised F1 fans for "booing" Hamilton in Austria, while also talking about the British fans' reactions towards him.

"Basically, I think it's a shame that the fans react like football fans, who always boo the opponent," Verstappen told Sport1.

"In the Netherlands they whistle Lewis, in England they do it to me. I think it's a shame because we often have extremely tough, sporting fights; they're of a high quality."

Max Verstappen
Red Bull's Max Verstappen is looking to build on his win in Saudi Arabia ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP