Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen “has a problem” with him despite the seven-time champion admitting he “respects” the Dutchman. The Mercedes star admitted the Red Bull star could have an issue with him due to the age difference between the pair.
However, Hamilton added he “assumed” there wasn’t any bad tension ahead of the new season. He stressed claims of a fall-out between the pair after the controversial Abu Dhabi season finale in 2021 were just “fairytales”.
Speaking to Formule 1 Magazine, Hamilton said: “People like to talk about there being problems between Max and me. I respect him. He is a lot younger, so maybe he has a problem with me. But I am not sure about that and I actually assume not. Although I can’t speak for him.”
The pair were embroiled in a tense championship battle in 2021 with three major on-track clashes. The season ended in controversial circumstances with Hamilton losing the title on the final lap of the last race.
However, the Mercedes driver has always pointed the finger at the FIA and race director Michael Masi instead of Verstappen. The pair have been seen congratulating each other after races and interacting on the podium.
Most recently, the pair were seen shaking hands at the Mexican Grand Prix in October. Verstappen seemed to stir rumours of a rift when he revealed Hamilton doesn’t refer to him by his name.
He even hinted that much of Hamilton’s success was down to his Mercedes car while praising the Briton. He commented: “People have told me he doesn’t use my name. I was always taught that you have to respect what people have achieved in sport.
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“I have no problem with what Lewis has achieved. He is one of the best ever. I know it is not only the car he has been driving. That helps.” Hamilton’s latest comments also come months after Red Bull boss Christian Horner suggested Hamilton has never praised Verstappen.
Horner added that Hamilton was shaken by Verstappen who had “nothing to lose” in comparison to the F1 legend. He explained: “I have never once heard Lewis recognise Max’s ability so, of course, there was just a little more needle to it. You could see that and sense that between those two drivers.
“I think [Verstappen was in] Lewis’ head, because he’s a seven-time world champion… he has everything to lose. Max is the young kid that’s taking the risks, that’s throwing everything at it and has got nothing to lose.”
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