Anthony Hamilton expects ‘huge hugs’ after title fight decided

Date published: October 26 2021 - Henry Valantine

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the podium. United States GP October 2021.

Anthony Hamilton has denied his son Lewis and Max Verstappen have a fractious relationship, saying they are simply “fierce competitors”.

The two title protagonists have collided twice on track this season, with reigning World Champion Hamilton having spoken to Verstappen on the phone in the aftermath of their high-speed crash at Silverstone, while the pair came to blows again at Monza as both were knocked out of the race.

Much has been made about how the duo’s relationship has potentially changed over the course of the season, but the Mercedes driver’s father insists their rivalry is simply for sporting reasons – believing the two will share “huge hugs” after the season has finished.

“No, that’s not true, they are fierce competitors,” Hamilton Snr told talkSPORT when asked if the title rivals did not get on. “Lewis is where Max wants to be, Max is where Lewis wants to be.

“They are like boxers going into the ring, but I guarantee that when it’s over and done there will be huge hugs and laughter and kisses between the pair of them.”

There was another flashpoint over the weekend in Austin, where the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers attempted to start a timed lap at the same moment in FP2 and headed into the first corner level pegging.

Verstappen ended up backing off but was not amused at the development, raising his middle finger and calling Hamilton a “stupid idiot” over team radio.

But as for Hamilton’s father, he explained competitors cannot be too friendly with each other on track, citing the example of how Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo – who enjoy friendly relationships off-track – all piled into the same corner three abreast on the first lap at the Circuit of The Americas as they jostled for position.

 

“It’s called competition,” he said. “If you’re too friendly with your competitor then you ease off the gas a little bit too much. You only have to look further down the field yesterday between the two McLaren drivers and the Ferrari drivers – those guys are friends.

“This is racing. When you’re off the field you’re very friendly. When you’re in battle, all is fair in love and war.”

Verstappen pulled away from Hamilton in the World Championship with his victory in Austin, with 12 points now separating the title rivals heading into Round 18 in Mexico.