The former racer predicts Hamilton will need to “get his elbows out” to beat Verstappen after his aggressive style won out last season. Brundle warns Verstappen’s “aggressive driving won him the championship” and that the grid will have to “play Max at his own game” if they want to come out on top.
He added Hamilton would need to go racing in a “more aggressive way” to beat the Dutchman as he added it was unlikely Verstappen will change his tactics.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “I think Lewis will come back with more determination than ever and I think he’s going to have to get his elbows out with Max. In the end, Max’s aggressive driving won him the world championship as far as I’m concerned.
“Everybody is going to have to play Max at his own game if they want to beat him. Mercedes and Lewis will be energised by that, but they’re going to have to go racing in a different and more aggressive way and play the same game – because Max isn’t going to change.”
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Verstappen just edged out Hamilton to the 2021 title in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton was on course to clinch the crown before a late-race safety car saw Vertdsappen close in on fresher tyres.
Verstappen made an aggressive dive at the Turn Five hairpin to claim the lead on the final lap and swerve across Hamilton at Tuen Nine to defend after a last push from the Briton. Verstappen’s aggression, and a lucky rain shower, also saw him clinch second place at the Russian Grand Prix despite starting from the back of the grid.
The clash between the pair at the Italian Grand Prix also prevented Hamilton from maximising a string points return at a track Mercedes were expected to dominate at. Ahead of the new season, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has even given his support behind his driver’s aggressive style on track.
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He said the Dutchman “always looks for limits” and added his driving style is part of his DNA.
He said: “Max [Verstappen] is an aggressive driver. And his driving style has been one of the reasons he was voted the most popular driver in Formula 1. You always know he’s going to give 110 percent. I think his driving style was very mature last season (2021).
“Let’s not forget that others also make mistakes. There are other drivers who also do aggressive actions. But yes, Max is an aggressive driver, it’s in his DNA. He always looks for the limits and learns from his own experiences or mistakes. There is no doubt in my mind about that.”