Max Verstappen accused of ‘angry’ actions against Lewis Hamilton as F1 rivalry boils over

Formula 1: Hamilton and Verstappen crash at 190mph

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Max Verstappen has been accused of driving with anger by Martin Brundle at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday. The 24-year-old is jostling with Lewis Hamilton to win a first F1 Drivers’ Championship of his career. Things will go to the wire this year, with just one race in Abu Dhabi left to go.

Verstappen and Hamilton are level at the top of the standings, despite the former missing out on winning at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.

That day, on lap 37, the 24-year-old and Hamilton collided with each other – leading to Verstappen being given two penalties.

It didn’t stop him from coming second but it did rile the Red Bull star, who hit out at the decision to punish him once the race was done.

Now, Brundle has had his say.

And he’s accused Verstappen of driving with anger, telling Sky Sports: “I believe Max initially made a genuine effort to let Lewis through but when he realised that they were both planning to be second over the impending DRS detection line to gain advantage down the pit straight, and with Lewis now on his rear bumper, he angrily hit the brakes at 69 bar momentarily generating 2.4G deceleration, nearly half that normally generated into a heavy braking zone for a high speed approach to a hairpin, and then pinned the throttle.

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“Hamilton slammed into the back of him, damaging his front wing along with breaking some rear bodywork on the Red Bull and cutting a tyre.

“They were lucky not to both be out of the race, which of course would have suited Max just fine.

“Somehow Hamilton still had more than ample speed with his damaged front wing.”

Brundle also opened believes the FIA are struggling to stop Verstappen from putting other drivers at risk.

“The FIA’s only way to control him is with endless reviews and occasional penalties,” he said.

“He’s been playing the game given that, with his points advantage, Lewis Hamilton simply can’t afford to have an accident with him and lose an opportunity to reduce the points deficit.

“Even now despite being absolutely level on points going into the final round, for the first time in F1 since 1974, that remains the case given that he has a 9-8 race victory tally should there be a count-back.

“Such is Max’s car control and cunning he’s sometimes able to pull off the audacious moves and leave a margin of doubt as to whether it’s hard racing or simply a professional foul outside of the regulations.

“And it’s those moments, such as the infamous turn four in Brazil, which are generating the confusion, controversies and inconsistencies.

“I’m in awe of Verstappen’s driving skills and racing nous, and have championed him since the Chinese Grand Prix of 2015 when he was in the Toro Rosso.

“His touch and control behind the wheel is something to behold, but it saddens me that he’s resorting to such tactics, he’s better than that.

“And for all his carefree attitude it will be such a shame if his legacy is to be labelled as an unfair driver.”

Verstappen fiercely defended himself after the race in Jeddah, saying: “Luckily the fans have a clear mind about racing because what happened today is unbelievable.

“I’m just trying to race and this sport these days is more about penalties than about racing. For me this is not Formula 1 but at least the fans enjoyed it.

“I gave it all today but clearly not quick enough. But still, happy with second.”

Verstappen also explained his Hamilton near-miss, saying he doesn’t ‘understand what happened’.

“I slowed down,” he said. “I wanted to let him by, so I’m on the right but he didn’t want to overtake and then we touched.

“I don’t really understand what happened there.

“A lot of things happened, which I don’t fully agree with, but it is what it is.

“I mean, at least I tried it on track, you know, to give it all.”

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