Lewis Hamilton has doubled down on his claim that Max Verstappen tried to “brake test” him during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, saying the Red Bull racer does not abide by the rules the rest of the drivers adhere to.
The F1 title rivals were involved in a dramatic tussle in Jeddah on Sunday evening, with the lead swapping several times due to restarts and safety cars, before Hamilton drove into the back of the younger driver when he slowed down to give him back first place.
Verstappen was adjudged to have pushed the Mercedes off the track before that and was handed a five-second penalty, with Hamilton ultimately cruising to victory and recording the fastest lap to go level on points heading into next week’s season finale
But the seven-time champ was far from pleased with the driving standards of Verstappen and feels he is one of few drivers he has come up against in his career who goes “over the limit” and has little regard for others” safety.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Hamilton said: “For me I really had to try and just keep my cool out there, which was really difficult to do. I’ve raced a lot of drivers through my life in the 28 years [I’ve been racing], I’ve come across a lot of different characters and there’s a few at the top who are over the limit – rules kind of don’t apply, or they don’t think of the rules.
“But today I tried to just do my talking on the track, keep my car between the white lines and do it the right way.”
Asked specifically if Verstappen falls into the category of drivers who go over the limit, Hamilton replied: “He’s over the limit, for sure.
“I mean, I’ve avoided collisions on so many occasions with the guy. I don’t always mind being the one that does that, because you live to fight another day, which I obviously did.”
Asked to explain why he did not go around Verstappen when the collision happened, Hamilton added: “I didn’t get the information so I didn’t know what was going on, it was very, very confusing.
“All of a sudden he started backing up and then kind of moving a little bit. I was thinking he was trying to play some kind of crazy tactics. Then all of a sudden, the message started coming through as he hit the brakes. Like, he hit the brakes so hard and I nearly went completely up the back of him and took us both out.
“For him it doesn’t matter if we don’t both finish. For me we both need to finish. But it will be interesting to see what happens.”
- A ell / Metro report