Max Verstappen has said he he saw “no reason” to contact Lewis Hamilton over the winter and that the time has come to “move on”.
Hamilton went into silent mode following the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he saw an eighth World Championship slip away from his grasp on the very last lap due to some very controversial decision-making by then race director Michael Masi when trying to organise a race restart following Nicholas Latifi’s late crash.
Apart from one brief post-race interview, where Hamilton was magnanimous in defeat, the seven-time World Champion removed himself completely from the public eye and social media until a few days before Mercedes‘ W13 launch in February.
Having processed what happened at the Yas Marina circuit and recharged his batteries, Hamilton returned in defiant mood and warned that he intends to be the best version of himself yet in his prestigious Formula 1 career.
Many people would have no doubt reached out to Hamilton in his months of silence, but one of those wasn’t title rival Verstappen.
“No,” was Verstappen’s reply when asked by the Daily Mail whether he had been in contact with Hamilton over the winter.
“There is no reason to. We haven’t seen each other since just after the end of the race. It is fine. We are racers and we move on.”
Verstappen’s critics and detractors will say he has an asterisk next to his title of World Champion due to how he ended up clinching the title, but the Red Bull racer “doesn’t care” if people try and take it away from him because he knows he is a worthy World Champion.
“A championship is won over the season, right? Not because of the last lap,” Verstappen said.
“Some people just look at that race because of the tension building up around it and think the outcome was wrong.
“But if you look at the year, the title would normally have been decided way earlier. It is just that I was taken out twice and had some bad luck with tyre blowouts.
“It came down to the last race because of all that misfortune. And look at the stats. That usually gives you a picture of how the season went.
“I can understand with how Abu Dhabi played out that he [Hamilton] was upset and not happy with it but, as I say, you have to look at the championship in general.
“It was a crazy and epic season. I don’t care if people try to take the shine off it. It doesn’t matter. The losing side always will complain, but the winning side think about it differently.”
Newly-released Netflix footage revealed Hamilton calling Verstappen “aggressive as hell” and insinuated that he is “a bully” on track.
That being said, Hamilton did say last month that he ultimately has “no issue” with Verstappen over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in particular.
Netflix footage shows Hamilton criticise Verstappen
Drive to Survive footage has shown Lewis Hamilton criticising Max Verstappen.