F1 War of Words Heating Up Between Verstappen, Hamilton

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  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
Photo credit: Mark Thompson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Thompson - Getty Images

It's safe to say that there's no love lost between bitter Formula 1 rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton went so far as to say after Sunday's race in Saudi Arabia that Verstappen acts like the rules don't apply to him.

The pair now head into the Abu Dhabi finale this weekend tied on points with 369.5 apiece. It is a stunning and appropriate situation amid one of the most fascinating and acrimoniously contested title contests in the history of Formula 1.

Photo credit: Dan Mullan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dan Mullan - Getty Images



On Sunday in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen received two more penalties for his wheel-to-wheel racing tactics against Hamilton, including the Mercedes driver's accusation of a "brake test" on one of the straightaways that caused Hamilton to ram the back of the Red Bull racer's car, nearly knocking Hamilton out of the race.

"In 28 years I've come across a lot of different characters," said Hamilton. "There are a few at the top who are over the limit—they don't think the rules apply."

Hamilton said he had to fend off "crazy curveballs" on the particularly difficult Jeddah street layout, but is determined to win the title "in the right way."

"He's over the limit for sure," said Hamilton. "I've avoided collisions on so many occasions with the guy."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff reacted furiously to the "brake test" move by Verstappen, even slamming his headphones on a bench in the Mercedes garage as it happened.

"That was spectacular," Wolff said of the race afterwards, "but not good racing. Max drives like he's still driving a kart, driving so fast into the corners when he is racing as though he doesn't care what happens."

Verstappen, though, was visibly angry on the podium, even walking off before participating in the traditional champagne spraying with the two Mercedes drivers.



"It wasn't champagne anyway so that's not fun," Verstappen said afterward.

But just prior to that moment, he had been voted "Driver of the day" by the fans who participated in the in-race, online popularity contest.

"At least the fans have a clear mind about racing," said Verstappen. "I'm just trying to race. This sport is more about penalties than racing. It's not only this race, but the general trend in F1.

"It's not how I grew up watching Formula 1 but it is what it is and we just have to deal with it and move on."