World champion Hamilton holds a 14-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings, having claimed three wins for Mercedes compared to Verstappen’s one, but the two manufacturers are embroiled in a thrilling dogfight.
Verstappen has caught the eye over the season’s first four races with some pulsating overtakes and risk-taking in his first genuine fight for the championship.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen insists he has ‘nothing to prove’ in his title fight with Lewis Hamilton
Verstappen and world champion Hamilton have often been racing wheel-to-wheel this season
Both racers have come close to making contact on several occasions as a result of Mercedes and Red Bull going wheel-to-wheel out in front.
Hamilton has highlighted the near misses as signs of Verstappen’s desire to impress.
When questioned about the recent comments from the Mercedes man, however, Verstappen chose to fire back.
‘Nope, I have nothing to prove,’ Verstappen said. ‘And avoiding contact, I think it goes both ways. So we have done well, that’s true.
‘But yeah, we race hard, we avoided the contact both sides. So let’s hope we can keep doing that and keep being on-track and racing hard against each other.’
The duo have enthralled the masses this year with Verstappen edging ahead of Hamilton on two occasions to take his position with some aggressive moves.
Hamilton believes the near misses between them are a sign of Verstappen’s desire to impress
In the season’s first race in Bahrain, Verstappen veered off the circuit when passing Hamilton to take the lead in the closing stages, only to later be forced to surrender the win with the manoeuvre deemed to be illegal.
At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton sustained damage to his car after making contact with the curb while trying to hold off a bullish Verstappen at the first corner.
Verstappen also showcased his ability when taking the lead in Spain with an overtake down the inside from the off.
Both drivers are expected to lead the way once again in Monaco. Verstappen has never tasted victory at the circuit, whereas Hamilton has won on three occasions.
Verstappen is in the thick of his first genuine championship battle with Mercedes’ Hamilton
Hamilton claimed victory at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of their rivalry moving to Monaco
But despite his past experience around the street track, Hamilton has tipped Red Bull to be ‘very, very hard to beat’ this time around.
He said: ‘This is a track that has always been strong for them and given how close the gap is between us, you can imagine this weekend they could be ahead.
‘But we are going to do everything we can to make sure that is not to be the case.’