The Max Verstappen-Lewis Hamilton antics overlooked by Austrian GP stewards

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) celebrate on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, 2023.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are at odds over Sprint weekends.

1996 F1 champ Damon Hill believes Max Verstappen was sending Lewis Hamilton a “reminder” that he is not to be messed with during their sprint shootout antics.

The former title rivals were involved in a back-and-forth out on the Red Bull Ring circuit during the first section of qualifying for the sprint race, the only session which Hamilton appeared in as he would suffer SQ1 elimination.

With Hamilton seeing a lap deleted for track limits, it left him with one final shot at escaping the SQ1 drop zone.

Lewis Hamilton eliminated after Max Verstappen drama

Hamilton was informed on his cool-down lap that Verstappen, on a push lap, would be approaching, “so go now”, but Verstappen would complain that Hamilton had blocked him as he came through Turn 10.

“He just blocked me in the last corner, I had to back off. I lost so much time in that last corner,” was the Verstappen verdict.

Verstappen and Hamilton’s little duel continued from there though, as with the roles now reversed for the start of this next lap, Hamilton on a timed effort and Verstappen on a cool-down, Verstappen would pass Hamilton in the approach to Turn 1.

With Hamilton now compromised, it meant his chances of making it through to SQ2 were over.

Sky F1 pundit Anthony Davidson was rather amazed that the stewards chose not to acknowledge this exchange.

“So this was Lewis starting a lap with Max ending his lap, and Lewis not making it through because Max basically got in his way through Turn 1,” Davidson began as he re-watched the incident.

“But this is Max ending his lap, as we come through the final corner, there’s Lewis in front, so he feels he was impeded there, probably was a bit, but no way as bad as what he did to him in Turn 1.

“But believe it or not, his didn’t even make it to the stewards room for them to analyse.” recommends

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Max Verstappen was sending a timely reminder

After joking that maybe the stewards were “too frightened to start all that again” between Verstappen and Hamilton, Hill went on to suggest that Verstappen was simply sending a timely reminder that he is not a driver to be messed with.

“But definitely a little bit no love lost there,” Hill continued.

“And just a reminder that Max is not to be messed with.”

Verstappen went on to secure pole position for the sprint race, the day after he had claimed pole for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

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