Lewis Hamilton asked ‘what else would he expect’ after Max Verstappen start claim

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, puts his hands to his face while talking to Max Verstappen, Red Bull at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, puts his hands to his face while talking to Max Verstappen, Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton complained that Max Verstappen pushed him wide at the Hungarian GP start, and David Coulthard asked in return what else he expected to happen?

Race starts have not always been a strength for Verstappen this season, but the Hungarian Grand Prix did not bring about a continuation of that trend.

While Hamilton started from pole in his Mercedes W14, Verstappen got away well and challenged Hamilton into Turn 1, emerging as the leader and going on to dominate the Hungarian Grand Prix from there.

David Coulthard not sure what else Lewis Hamilton expected of Max Verstappen

Hamilton lost out not only to Verstappen at the start, but to the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris too as he sunk from P1 to P4 in a matter of corners.

And after the race, he claimed that Verstappen had pushed him wide at Turn 1, opening the door for the McLaren duo.

“The start actually, the initial getaway wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but it obviously wasn’t as good as Max’s,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“Had a bit of wheelspin and then obviously Max was on the inside and he ran me wide and I got done by the two McLarens. So definitely not a great start, kind of reminiscent of 2015 when I fell back from first.”

But, while Coulthard feels for Hamilton on how that start played out, he felt it was obvious that this is what Verstappen would do to secure the lead.

“You’ve got to feel for him,” said Coulthard on Channel 4 when re-watching the start.

“I think as he got off the line, the initial reaction from both drivers was pretty much the same, but then in that secondary phase, that’s where Max Verstappen was able to get it up the inside.

“Inevitably, once Lewis decided to try and run it out, then he was going to get pushed wide. What else would he expect Max Verstappen to do?”

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Former W Series driver Alice Powell actually believes Verstappen’s reaction off the line was better than Hamilton’s, showing the work Verstappen and his Red Bull team have been doing to correct that weakness has paid off.

“I just think Max’s reactions were just better than Lewis’,” Powell suggested.

“Actually Max got quite a bit of wheelspin as well. Max did say they worked a lot on the start, because obviously the starts are pretty critical, so they’ve obviously done some good work, but I just think a lot of it came down to the reactions.”

With Verstappen racing on to secure his seventh win in a row, that also gave Red Bull their record 12th in succession, breaking McLaren’s benchmark which had stood since 1988.

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