until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen: Hamilton/Merc celebrations ‘show how they really are’

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Max Verstappen says he was called by Lewis Hamilton after their controversial British Grand Prix collision but stands by his criticism of Hamilton’s driving and post-race celebrations.

While Verstappen was sent for precautionary checks in hospital following his 51G impact, Hamilton recovered from a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision to win the grand prix.

Later on Sunday evening, Verstappen said that watching Hamilton’s celebrations with a jubilant home crowd post-race was “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour” given Verstappen was in hospital.

Max Verstappen F1 Red Bull

Hamilton was unaware of that at the time and Mercedes was aware via the FIA that Verstappen was OK, and the hospital visit was only precautionary.

After the race, Hamilton indicated he could contact Verstappen – which Verstappen revealed ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix did happen, although hinted it resolved little as Verstappen is adamant that Hamilton was totally to blame and doubled down on his criticism of the post-race conduct.

“He did call me,” said Verstappen. “I don’t need to go into details about that, but we did have a chat.

“What you mean with disrespectful, when one guy is in the hospital and the other is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you push the guy into the wall with 51g.

“And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team besides that. I think that’s not how you celebrate a win, especially a win how they got it.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1

“That’s what I found really disrespectful. In a way it shows how they really are.

“It comes out after a pressure situation, but I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”

Verstappen’s hospital visit post-race means he has barely commented publicly on the incident beyond his critical tweet and some minor remarks in Red Bull’s official preview of this weekend’s event.

But Red Bull has been relentless over the issue, heavily criticising Hamilton and Mercedes while also petitioning for the stewards to review the penalty, which they felt was insufficient given Hamilton was to blame yet went on to win.

Verstappen has now made it clear he feels he “didn’t do anything wrong” and shut down suggestions he is too “aggressive”.

Max Verstappen Hungary F1 Red Bull

“I fought hard, I defended hard, but not aggressively because if it would have been aggressive I could have squeezed him into the inside wall,” he said.

“But I did give him the space and then I just opened up my corner and when you then commit on the inside like he did and not back out, expecting you can do the same speed on that angle that I had on the outside, you are going to crash into me.

“I’m on the outside, I’m opening up my corner not expecting him to commit and he understeered into the rear of my car. There’s not much I can do.

“Of course, people easily say I’m an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am.

“I’m a hard driver, I race hard but at the end of the day I think I know quite well how I have to position my car and I haven’t been involved in accidents where I run into people.

“I have zero penalty points as well, so I think that already says quite a bit.”

Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen F1

While his call with Hamilton did not leave the pair aligned on what happened, Verstappen indicated that the relationship has not suffered lasting damage.

He said the two drivers are “racers” and will “just keep on going”.

“Of course I’m not happy with what happened there but we’ll keep on pushing, we’re still fighting for that championship together,” he said.

“And we will race I think in the best manner going forward, at least from my side.”

It is not yet clear what Red Bull wants the stewards to review specifically over the incident but the team has made it abundantly clear that a harsher penalty – even a one-race ban – was required.

The FIA’s position is that the consequences of a clash should not determine the penalty, but Verstappen believes the penalty was not “correct”.

“You take out your main rival and especially with the speed we have in our cars, we are miles ahead of the third best team,” he said.

“We are easily 40-50 seconds ahead in normal conditions so a 10-second penalty doesn’t do anything.

“So definitely that penalty should have been more severe.”

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