Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton reflected on multiple topics from F1 British GP weekend and what happened afterwards, even exchanging phone calls.
While the FIA rejected Red Bull’s review plea after a hearing during Hungarian GP, both Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in their usual pre-race press conference duties, where the two discussed on multiple topics at length.
It was the first time for Verstappen in front of the media since the incident and he was the first to speak. The Dutchman explained his side of what happened in the corner and why he felt Hamilton was let go leniently, who understeered into him.
Verstappen was not clear of why the stewards noted Hamilton was ‘predominantly’ to be blamed for the incident and not wholly, where the former left a saying that there was some element of blame on the Dutchman too, even if the Brit got the penalty.
While acknowledging the call from Hamilton and most of the team bosses in the paddock – but not Toto Wolff – Verstappen was still a bit bitter on the post-race celebrations from the Brit and Hamilton, especially with the enthusiasm they did so.
Here’s the key elements from what he said:
His view of what happened and the incident –
Verstappen: “I fought hard, I defended hard, but not aggressive, because if it would have been aggressive I could have pushed him or squeezed him into the inside wall. But I did give him the space, and then I just opened up my corner and when you then commit on the inside like he did and not back out, expecting he can do the same speed on that angle that I had on the outside, you are going to, of course, crash into me.
“I’m on the outside, I’m opening up my corner and not expecting him to commit, and he understeered into the rear of my car. Of course at the time he knew he had the faster car, so [it was] just a matter of time to pass. It does show that it is possible to go up the inside, but then back out more, slow down a bit more, and not hit the other driver. I think at the middle of the corner, I was actually opening up more than Charles did even. It’s a great example within the same race that it is possible to fight into that corner.”
Subsequent penalty –
Verstappen: “Basically you take out your main rival, and especially with the speed we have with our cars, we are miles ahead of the third-best team. We are easily 40, 50 seconds ahead in normal conditions. So a 10-second penalty doesn’t do anything. So definitely that penalty should have been more severe. I don’t know how I have a percentage in that fault.
“He goes for that move, he commits to the move. Of course I’m going to make it difficult for him to make the move. But as soon as he commits to the inside and is getting alongside me, I open up the corner, and then I’m going to leave him space. They don’t expect me to just completely run off the track and then just keep my position. Probably they would tell you that you cannot run off the track. So from my side, a bit surprised, yeah, that there is a little bit of a percentage of responsibility in there.”
Post-race celebrations and phone call –
Verstappen: “If you mean with disrespectful, it’s when one guy is in the hospital and the other one is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you pushed the guy into the wall at 51G. And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team besides that, I think. That’s not how you celebrate the win, especially a win how they got it.
“So yeah, that’s what I found really disrespectful and in a way I mean it shows how they really are, you know. It comes out after a pressured situation. But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that. And yeah, he did call me. I don’t need to go into details about that but we did have a chat.”
On the other hand, Hamilton came in after Verstappen, with the two also exchanging a moment in the waiting area. The Brit didn’t wish to add much, but still noted that he would do the exact move again, if need be, citing that he knows what he was doing.
On the celebrations, Hamilton revealed that he didn’t know much later that Verstappen was in the hospital. He only got the message of the Dutchman being fine, but reckoned, it was not disrespectful of him and his team to celebrate, knowing that his rival is fine.
Hamilton explained his idea to call Verstappen, but with the Dutchman’s comments in the press conference, he reckons it hasn’t been reciprocated. When asked if this feels like a Prost-Senna kind of rivalry, he reckoned, it was good for the sport anyhow.
His move and if he will do it again –
Hamilton: “In terms of the move, I would do the move exactly the way I’ve probably done it and I did it last time. In terms of how I’ve reviewed it and analysed, from all my experience, and my experience obviously over the years speaks for a lot, I wouldn’t change it. I definitely can explain but I’m not going to explain. I’ve been racing 20 and god knows how many years. I know how to navigate through corners and make overtaking manoeuvres, and so I won’t waste my energy trying to explain it. But it’s definitely going to be difficult for people to fully understand.”
Post-race celebrations not disrespectful –
Hamilton: “I saw on the screen that he’d got out of the car and he looked okay and I was told he was fine. I wasn’t aware until the media press pens afterwards he had visited the hospital. None of us ever want to see another driver injured or put a driver in harm’s way,” Hamilton added. I don’t believe our behaviour was disrespectful.
“As I said it’s one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened and there’s one thing not knowing and celebrating. Obviously I wasn’t aware. It’s my home grand prix and we worked incredibly hard for who knows how long to get a result like that. And what a monumental moment it was for us to experience the whole home crowd being there for the first time, obviously since last year was missed.
“Emotions were running high. It wasn’t an intentional celebration it was just the joy of seeing so many people and so many people celebrating, being together and that’s the natural emotion. I’m not going to hide my emotions. It was an amazing feeling to see so many people.”
Phone call –
Hamilton: “Our focus is solely on this weekend. I did give Max a call after the race to just check if he was okay and let him know that the respect is still there. Obviously it’s perhaps not reciprocated but that’s okay.”
Prost-Senna type comparisons –
Hamilton: “I remember watching this Prost-Senna. At the time it was exciting. I had no idea if it was good or bad for motorsport. Now we have seen two teams incredibly close. I don’t like to compare to past champions. This now is a new era and new times. It is not bad for the sport. If there are more people watching it’s good.”
Here’s what the FIA said