Hamilton takes stunning win after crash with Max Verstappen
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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton won’t be eating together anytime soon following remarks made by the Red Bull driver. The Dutchman currently leads Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, by 12 points in the drivers’ standings with just five races of the 2021 season to go.
That’s after an epic duel between the pair at the US Grand Prix last Sunday, where Verstappen, 24, undercut the British driver with their respective pit-stops, and then held him off in a thrilling final few laps.
There is still drama aplenty to come no doubt, with the next Grand Prix in Mexico on Sunday, November 7, the first of three races in consecutive weeks with meetings in Brazil and Qatar duly following afterwards.
The campaign will then culminate in December with races in Saudi Arabia (December 5) and Abu Dhabi (December 12).
Tension between Verstappen and Mercedes driver Hamilton, 36, has simmered all season especially after two track collisions between the pair.
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In Silverstone in July, it was the British driver who was deemed at fault as the crash ended his rival’s race, with Verstappen later taken to hospital for checks. The former Toro Rosso man was then left enraged after Hamilton overcame a 10-second penalty to win the race and celebrate wildly on the podium.
At Monza last month however, it was Verstappen given a three-grid penalty for the next race after FIA officials blamed him for an incident where only Hamilton’s halo saved the Red Bull car careering into his head.
In practice for the latest race in Austin, Verstappen then branded the reigning champion a “stupid idiot” after he darted past him when he was preparing for a flying lap.
Now, in an interview with Gentleman’s Journal, the championship leader has opened up on relations between the pair.
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“It’s good,” he insisted. “I mean, we’re how competitors should be.
“We’re not exactly going to have dinner together but that’s fine. You have that competitive spirit and we always try to beat each other on track, but also try to respect each other off track as well.”
When asked about the flash points this season, he remained composed: “So far there have been some tense moments, but overall it’s been all right.”
Media storms followed both the British and Italian Grand Prix’s, but he claimed the frenzies – just like the pressure of the title race this year – haven’t affected him mentally.
“It’s not going to influence anything I do on the weekend, on the track, or my performance, so it’s just a waste of time to look at it.
“I prefer to spend the free time I have with my family or friends.”
Free time though, will be of the essence from now until the end of the season, as Verstappen bids for a maiden F1 title, and Red Bull’s first since 2013.
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