Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have reignited their old rivalry by trading barbs following a costly collision at the Brazilian Grand Prix. After another incident had forced an early safety car, the pair clashed following the restart on lap six.
Unsurprisingly the Dutchman had a rather different view on the controversial incident, telling Sky Sports F1: ‘To be honest, I went around the outside, and I immediately felt he was not going to leave space. I just went for it, he didn’t leave me space, so I knew we were going to get together.
The two-time F1 champion could be heard immediately following the incident blaming Hamilton over his team radio, alleging that the Mercedes star ‘left me no space.’ Clearly not agreeing with his rival’s assessment, Hamilton told his race engineer ‘that was no racing incident, mate’ with race chiefs agreeing with the Brit and handing the Dutchman a five-second penalty.
But even following the heat of the moment the back-and-forth verbal jousting continued. Speaking after the race had concluded, Hamilton held his tongue whilst expressing his frustration with his rival. ‘What can I say? You know how it is with Max.’ ‘It cost him the race win, for me it gave me five seconds. It wouldn’t have mattered anything for my race, because we were just way too slow.
‘But it’s just a shame, I thought we could race quite well together, but clearly the intention was not there to race.’ But that changed when the pair found themselves racing behind Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell in first place. Speaking following the race, the veteran driver congratulated his teammate on his success.
The coming together proved significantly more damaging for the Red Bull star, as Verstappen was forced to pit for a new front wing. Coupled with the five-second penalty the reigning champion was forced back into 17th. After engaging in fierce rivalry last season that concluded with one of the most dramatic and controversial races in the history of motorsport at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton and Verstappen had largely remained out of proximity to each other this year.
‘To my team, so proud of everyone back at the factory and here, this is an incredible result. We’ve worked so hard through this year to get a one-two, or to get a win, so this is hugely, hugely deserved from everybody so big, big thank you.’ Verstappen ultimately finished sixth, but was widely criticised following the race for refusing an order from Red Bull race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to allow his teammate Sergio Perez to overtake him on the final lap.
Hamilton meanwhile emerged from the clash relatively unscathed and ultimately finished second behind Russell in the penultimate race of the 2022 world championship. Hamilton meanwhile suffered relatively little damage from the collision and finished the race in second .‘Huge congratulations to George. What an amazing drive he did today. He did amazing in qualifying yesterday, so he truly deserves it.