‘Too frustrated’ – Lewis Hamilton reveals failed Max Verstappen apology at Imola

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton stood together at China 2024

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have rarely seen eye to eye over recent years

Lewis Hamilton has claimed that Max Verstappen was “too frustrated” to accept his apology after a near-miss in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix practice on Friday at Imola.

Hamilton and Verstappen, who became embroiled in a bitter rivalry during the infamous F1 2021 season, were reunited on track during second practice at Imola.

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen reunited in Imola F1 practice

After encountering a slow-moving Hamilton at the Villeneuve chicane, Verstappen swerved aggressively across the track to convey his displeasure to the Mercedes driver.

Onboard footage showed Hamilton raising his hand in apology, with Verstappen cutting a frustrated figure after the session after being classified a distant seventh and making a series of uncharacteristic mistakes throughout the opening day at Imola.

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“It’s not the first time,” Verstappen said.

“Of course, you try to always stay calm about it, but it happened again.

“On the other hand, I don’t want to really talk about it too much because that’s not our issue. Today, we were just severely off pace. That we need to fix.”

Asked to provide his assessment of the incident, Hamilton admitted he was at fault – before claiming that Verstappen was “too frustrated” to accept his apology.

He said: “Jeez. I was on a cool-down lap.

“I thought I was well clear, but all of a sudden he was right on me and ultimately it was my mistake.

“I tried to apologise but he was too frustrated.”

Mercedes have brought a series of upgrades to Imola with the hope of kickstarting their F1 2024 season, with the team still awaiting their first podium finish of the new campaign.

A graph showing ideal lap times for each team in 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix FP2

And after being classified fourth in the afternoon session, albeit 0.391 seconds adrift of Charles Leclerc’s pace-setting Ferrari, Hamilton claimed the team have made an encouraging step forward judging by the early evidence.

He added: “It’s been a good start to the weekend.

“We’re a lot closer than we have been, it seems, but we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

“I’m really grateful to everyone back at the factory for pushing so hard to bring these upgrades because we are seeing improvements in the car and our performance on track.”

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