Hamilton, whether intentional or not, fanned the flames on his title rivalry with Verstappen ahead of race weekend in Monte Carlo by suggesting Verstappen’s aggressive nature when in wheel-to-wheel combat with him showed that he had “something to prove”.
Verstappen quickly shot down that theory in his own media day press conference on Wednesday, but referenced Hamilton’s initial remark when discussing his dominant victory in Monaco on Sunday.
Monaco!!! 🏆 Teamwork brought us this victory. Thank you so much to @hondaracingf1 and @redbullracing for helping me win today and to everyone for the support 🙏🏻 Over the moon with this win, but we are pushing for more. So for now, let’s enjoy this great victory 🍾🇲🇨 #MonacoGP pic.twitter.com/sPcT1ahiS5
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 23, 2021
“Well, first of all, actions always speak louder than words,” said Verstappen when asked by The Race on the importance of fighting back against Mercedes to take the lead on both World Championship fronts.
“That’s a good lesson after this weekend. You only have to talk on the track. That’s what I like.
“We as a team so far made the smallest mistakes. That’s why we are ahead.
“So, I hope we can keep that going for the rest of the season.”
In a separate media call following the Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked for his response to what Verstappen had said in the post-race press conference.
“I couldn’t care less,” a dismissive, smiling Hamilton said. “They did a great job this weekend and that’s that.
“We’ve had some good races also. There are 17 races to go. I’m not going to [say more]. It’s childish in the end when you start getting into a war of words.”
While Verstappen and Red Bull have replaced Hamilton and Mercedes at the top of the respective World Championships, he is very much aware that there is still an awful long way to go in the 2021 campaign.
“If it’s there at the end of the season that would be great because it’s still a long way to go,” he said.
“Of course it’s great to bounce back after the last two races where of course the gap got bigger.
“We still have to work hard because we know that Mercedes on normal tracks are still the ones to beat.
“But it was a good, smooth weekend overall I think. And this is a great boost for the whole team going forward.”