Lewis Hamilton has called for respect over the radio after Max Verstappen flipped him the bird and called him a “stupid idiot” in Austin.
From the days when Kimi Raikkonen said the word “shit” to Martin Brundle on the grid back in 2006 to Kevin Magnussen telling Nico Hulkenberg what he could “suck”, Formula 1 has over the years begun to embrace less PR-driven speech from its drivers and more, shall we say, honest thoughts.
That has led to a fair amount of beeping as the FIA broadcasts the drivers’ radio messages to their teams, messages that are very seldom flattering.
In fact Hamilton praising Lando Norris as a “great driver” as they battled over second place at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix is the only positive radio message after a rival driver that comes to mind.
Hamilton feels there should be more, or at least less of the negative.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 22, 2021
“I’ve been here for a long time, it’s not my first rodeo,” the Mercedes driver said during Thursday’s FIA press conference.
“I think at the core of everything, there has to be respect.
“When I think about, and I hear the things that come out of drivers’ mouths, I do think there are kids watching us, and they’re looking to us for inspiration and for guidance.
“There has been a lot of things that have been said, which is definitely not good for young kids that are watching.
“For me, I’m just trying to remain positive and keep calm, and again, just be respectful to the drivers that I am fighting.
“If I have a name in my head of what I think they are, I don’t share that. But it’s pretty easy for me. You laugh it off, and you move forwards.”
Verstappen’s comment about Hamilton came as the title rivals went wheel-to-wheel at the Circuit of the Americas.
Coming out of the final corner with Hamilton’s W12 on the inside, Verstappen had to run wide and off the track.
The protagonists continued along the pits straight with the two cars line abreast up the hill to Turn 1 little more than inches apart, Hamilton edging ahead into the corner.
And all this happened in Friday’s FP2.