Cameras miss friendly Hamilton and Verstappen moment

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in a press conference. Abu Dhabi December 2021

HAMILTON Lewis (gbr), Mercedes AMG F1 GP W12 E Performance, VERSTAPPEN Max (ned), Red Bull Racing Honda RB16B, portrait, Thursday press conference during the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021. Abu Dhabi December 2021

Tom Clarkson says he was privy to a relaxed moment between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, but it was not caught on camera.

The two title challengers were paired together to face the media ahead of the decider at Yas Marina and as presenter of the press conferences, Clarkson is there first-hand to see what goes on in the room.

While there had been tension heading into the weekend between the two of them, they had supposedly been relaxed in each other’s company before the questions came in.

“There was a funny moment on the weekend where, prior to having Max and Lewis together on Thursday, there was a big discussion about ‘do we go for the cheesy handshake shot’,” Clarkson said on the F1 Nation podcast.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen embrace. Yas Marina December 2021.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen embrace after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

“Which I think you [F1 Nation co-host Damon Hill] and [Michael] Schumacher did a few times, didn’t you? So it’s ‘are we going to go for the cheesy handshake shot because that’s what all the newspapers will want?’

“Anyway, Max arrives early, sits down and we are just having a chat. About three minutes later, Lewis walks in, walks straight over, fist-bumps him and goes ‘how you doin’, man?’ and they have a bit of a chat.

“I thought ‘brilliant, that’s the shot, I don’t need to worry about this cheesy handshake thing anymore’.

“And we had a Netflix camera in there. We had the two cameras we have in the press conference room anyway. There was even a photographer in there as well.”

It would have been a perfect moment to include in the next series of ‘Drive to Survive’ or would have been a good clip to come out in public ahead of the weekend, to show the two rivals speaking away from the heat of racing in the build-up to a climactic end to the season.

After conducting the press call, the F1 reporter said he had hoped to see the footage of the pair of them – but things did not quite go to plan on that front.

“So the press conference happens and they have a good natter,” Clarkson elaborated.


“And then at the end, I said to the Netflix guy ‘ah, you must have enjoyed the fist-bump’. And he goes ‘oh, I missed it, mate, I missed it’.

“So nobody knows about this fist-bump except for me and the people in [there], about three others in the room!”


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