‘This guy is f***ing CRAZY’: Lewis Hamilton hits out at Max Verstappen for dirty tricks after F1 title rivals collided AGAIN, with the Brit running into the back of the Dutchman after he braked suddenly when being told to let him pass
- Hamilton and Verstappen’s intense battle for the title took another frantic turn
- During lap 37 of the Saudi Grand Prix, the two championship rivals collided
- Verstappen was adjudged to have overtaken Hamilton illegally to take the lead
- When ordered to give the place back, Verstappen slowed down in front of Lewis
- Hamilton had not been told about the Red Bull orders and clipped Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton turned on his ‘crazy’ title rival Max Verstappen on Sunday night, accusing him of dirty tricks in a toxic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion won the race but only after surviving a scare when he drove into the back of his championship rival in contentious circumstances. The pair are now level on points going into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
An already controversial season took its most bitter twist on lap 37 of the night race when Verstappen was ordered to hand first place back to Hamilton. The Dutchman slowed down, apparently brake-testing his rival, who clipped the rear of the Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton (back) crashed into the back of Max Verstappen (front) during Sunday’s race
Hamilton ran into the back of his title rival after Verstappen was ordered to give the lead back
Hamilton said: ‘We all know how to race. There’s only one of us who doesn’t.
‘I didn’t get the information (that Verstappen had been told to cede position), so it was very confusing. All of a sudden he started backing up and then moving. I was like, “Is he playing some sort of crazy tactic?”
‘All of a sudden messages started to come through, but he hit the brakes so hard l nearly went up the back of him.
‘For him, it didn’t matter if we both didn’t finish because he was leading by eight points at the start.
‘It will be interesting to see what happens…’
Hamilton (left) sustained damage to the front right of his wing as a result of the collision
The matter went before the stewards, who had yet to reach a decision at gone midnight in Jeddah.
Eventually it was announced that Verstappen had been handed a 10-second penalty for causing the collision, but because he finished 16 seconds clear of third-placed Valtteri Bottas at the chequered flag it did not result in any change to the points awarded.
Hamilton added: ‘I needed to keep my cool. I’ve raced a lot of drivers in my years and a lot of different characters, and there are a lot over the limit for whom rules don’t apply.
‘Today, I just tried to do my talking on the track.’
Martin Brundle, commentating on Sky, said: ‘It’s been a dirty race in terms of tactics. Max did brake-test him. That was particularly naughty.
‘Max Verstappen has got to look at his driving standards. There’s aggressive, determined, feisty racing, and then there’s what we saw this evening, which was too much.’
Hamilton said he didn’t understand why Verstappen slowed down in his post-race interview
Hamilton went on to win the first ever Saudi Arabia Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen (back)
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: ‘I don’t think this is done yet. The telemetry shows Max is slowing down then accelerating again and then slowing down.
‘Lewis didn’t know Verstappen had been told to let him past, and I think that was the wrong sequence of messages that came through there.
‘The driving needs to be assessed. It’s hard, very hard, maybe over the line hard.
‘We just want to have a clean championship, may the best man win and if it’s Max at the end then I have peace with that. It just needs to be fair.’
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner countered: ‘We feel hard done by with the five-second penalty (for an early restart incident). As for where Lewis has driven up the back of Max, he was trying to give the place up.’
Toto Wolff reacted with fury after watching the lap 37 incident during the Jeddah race
Wolff furiously threw his headset after watching Hamilton collide with Verstappen
Red Bull chief Christian Horner thought Verstappen’s earlier five-second penalty was harsh
Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, stood up for Verstappen, saying: ‘It is the responsibility of the driver who is letting the other past to do it as safely as possible. l can’t really see what Max did wrong. He may have slowed down abruptly, but I think Lewis was nervous about going alongside him.’
Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas, who snatched third in the final few metres, said: ‘It was not easy and the red flags made it tricky. We just kept pushing and on the final straight I got third.
‘It’s a big challenge physically and mentally here. But a good grand prix and I look forward to coming here next year.’
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