Max: Opinion of Hamilton has changed for the worse

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen hand to his head. Saudi Arabia December 2021

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen with his hand to his head after crashing in qualifying. Saudi Arabia December 2021

Max Verstappen says his personal view of Mercedes and fellow title challenger Lewis Hamilton has taken a turn for the worse this season.

A season of twists and turns has produced an epic Championship battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, and fittingly both drivers now head into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tied on 369.5 points.

The path to this point though has involved several controversies with the pair colliding on multiple occasions, the largest shunts coming at the British and Italian Grands Prix.

There was further contact in Saudi Arabia as Hamilton went into the back of a slowing Verstappen, who had been told to concede the lead to his rival.

And the drama has not been limited to the drivers as back in the paddock, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner have been at each other’s throats for much of the season.

All of this has had an impact on Verstappen’s view of both Hamilton and his Mercedes team.

Lewis Hamilton next to Max Verstappen. Saudi Arabia December 2021.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen climb out of their cars after the race. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Asked by The Race if this season had altered his opinion of Hamilton and Mercedes, Verstappen said: “Yep. Very much. And not in a positive way.”

Verstappen had made it clear he feels a victim of unfair treatment by the FIA and race stewards, and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone even recently accused Hamilton and Mercedes of bullying the Dutchman.

So when those comments were put to him, Verstappen stated that something is “not correct”.

“Well, clearly he feels something is not right,” said Verstappen in response to the words of Ecclestone.

“I don’t experience bullying, but I think what is going on of course is not correct.”

Verstappen was confused after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where he received 15 seconds’ worth of time penalties and was ordered to concede position to Hamilton on several occasions, the FIA not satisfied with the conduct of his driving.

And so the Dutchman made no secret of the fact he believes he is treated differently to the other F1 drivers.


Asked about a video recorded by boxer Tyson Fury, who showed support for Verstappen after the criticism in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen said: “At the end of the day, criticism that’s always there. But I think for myself, what is unfair is I’m just treated differently than other drivers.

“Clearly other drivers can get away with it and I can’t, and that’s a bit of a problem.”


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