until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Hamilton had ‘no intention to leave me space’ – Verstappen

by Josh Suttill, Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Max Verstappen believes his former Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton had “no intention” of leaving him space before their clash in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Last year’s F1 title combatants collided while fighting for second place on the first of two safety car restarts at Interlagos.

Verstappen launched an attack on Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1 but found no room when Hamilton turned into the corner, leading to his front wing being damaged and Hamilton losing positions.

The stewards deemed Verstappen, who had to pit for a new front wing, to be at fault for causing the collision because of his speed he carried into the second part of the Senna S.

He was handed a five second time penalty and finished in sixth place while Hamilton recovered to second place to complete a Mercedes 1-2 behind George Russell.

Verstappen was unimpressed with Hamilton’s attitude to their fight and says he’d hoped the duo could put the animosity of their bitter title battle behind them.

“I went around the outside at Turn 1 and I just felt it as soon as I was going next to him, he had no intention to leave me space,” Verstappen explained.

“I said ‘OK if you don’t leave me space then we’re just going to collide’.

“At the end of the day, we were too slow anyway, and for him, it ruined his chance to win the race. Of course with the safety car he still had an opportunity.

“I thought after last year we’d maybe forget about it, we can finally race.

“First of all, when I went side-by-side, I thought ‘OK let’s have a good race here’.

“You feel it with a driver if he’s going to leave you space or not. There was zero intention to leave me space.”

Verstappen was surprised to receive a penalty and is confused by the logic behind the new-for-2022 racing rules.

“I was 85% alongside and my intention is never to crash but I could feel he was never going to leave me the space into that corner and then yeah we collide,” Verstappen said.

“If he’d have just moved a little, he would have probably stayed ahead anyway.

“It’s a shame, I want to race, I want to have a good fight. But when the other one doesn’t want to work with you and then the rules are honestly so confusing on how far you need to be alongside, what they are judging to be alongside, then you get these kind of things.

“I take the five second penalty, I want to race and I thought we were racing.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thought Verstappen had “earned a bit more space than he was given”.

Hamilton wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the incident but did give a brief answer when asked about it in parc ferme after the race.

“What can I say? You know how it is with Max,” Hamilton said when asked about the incident by his 2008 title rival Felipe Massa.

Hamilton later said he had “no concerns” over racing with Verstappen in the future.

“I think it’s natural when you have [had] the success and numbers on your chest that you become a bit of a target but it’s OK, nothing I haven’t dealt with before,” he said in the post-race press conference.

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