Max Verstappen races Lewis Hamilton differently to the others, says Martin Brundle, who thought their Brazil crash was a racing incident.
Instances of Hamilton and Verstappen fighting in relatively equal machinery have not been a common sight in 2022 but when that was the case in Brazil, we were left with a very 2021-esque outcome.
As race leader and ultimate victor George Russell bolted at the restart, Verstappen went for a trip around the outside of Hamilton at Turn 1, picking up the inside line at Turn 2.
That resulted in contact at the exit, Verstappen coming off worse as he needed a new front wing, and later received a five-second penalty after the stewards adjudged him to have been predominantly to blame. He ultimately finished P6, while Hamilton made it a Mercedes one-two.
Both drivers collided multiple times last season during their epic tussle over the title and to this day, former F1 driver Brundle believes Verstappen readjusts his “limits” when it comes to combat with Hamilton.
As for this particular incident, Brundle feels Verstappen was a little hard done by when it came to the stewards’ verdict.
In his Sky Sports F1 column, Brundle wrote: “Russell wisely left it very late before nailing the throttle on the restart, so as not to gift a healthy slipstream.
“Behind, the two Red Bulls were catching Hamilton, and Max initially seemed to be defending the inside against his team-mate before suddenly deciding to attack Hamilton around the outside.
“Partly ahead, and then partly behind, but having the inside line for Turn 2 – as the agreement between drivers and Race Control has been carefully explained to me by a key driver – being that far alongside Lewis and on the inside, Max was entitled to some racing room.
“I have no doubt Max has a different set of limits when in combat with Lewis, and Lewis has similarly decided to fight fire with fire. And so inevitably they hit but continued.
“The stewards said Lewis could have given ‘a little more space’, and in my view Max could have taken even more kerb or indeed lifted off the throttle, but that’s not racing. The stewards decided it was predominantly Max’s fault and he got a five-second penalty and a pit-stop for a new nose.
“I thought it was a racing incident. Lewis’ car was a bit scruffy but all the fast bits were intact, and he set off in spectacular recovery mode.”