Max Verstappen says he has no lingering bad feelings heading to Silverstone, a year on from an infamous collision with Lewis Hamilton.
The two title protagonists made contact at Copse corner on the opening lap of the 2021 race, with Verstappen’s outside resulting in his Red Bull being tagged by Hamilton’s left-front wheel as the pair negotiated the high-speed curve.
Verstappen was pitched around and flung into the barriers at high-speed, resulting in a 51G impact that left the Dutch driver battered and bruised. He required a precautionary visit to hospital while the race was red-flagged and reset.
Hamilton, despite being given a 10-second time penalty after being found predominantly to blame for the collision, recovered to win – making a huge dent in Verstappen’s championship lead. The reaction to the race amplified the increasing ill-feeling between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps, with Red Bull particularly annoyed by the extent of Mercedes’ celebrations – despite Hamilton being found guilty of the clash.
A year on from the collision, tempers have cooled. Verstappen went on to win the title in controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi, and is having a reasonably smooth championship year as he defends his crown.
Enjoying a 46-point lead over team-mate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ Championship, Verstappen doesn’t have to worry much about Hamilton’s impact on the title fight – the seven-time Champion trails his ’21 rival by 98 points.
Returning to the scene of his lowest point of 2021, Verstappen said he has no lingering bad feelings from that weekend.
“Of course, the crash wasn’t nice, but I love the track,” Verstappen told GP Racing.
“I love going there. It’s [a] really good atmosphere with Formula 1, and we’re going really quick around there.
“So I don’t have any hard feelings. I also think very easily I can put these things aside. Of course, it wasn’t nice what happened, but at the end of the day, you deal with it.
“It wasn’t a nice impact for me personally, but we go out there again and try to win of course.”
Returning to a race in the UK for the first time since defeating home hero Hamilton, the reigning World Champion said he has no concerns about potentially receiving a mixed reaction from a partisan audience.
“The good thing is, once we jump in the car with the helmet on, you don’t hear anything!” he pointed out.
“And they love motorsport. I mean, it’s such a big history in England in general, right?”
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