Max Verstappen recalls phone blowing up after Lewis Hamilton ‘brake magic’ incident

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton goes off track during the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton goes off track during the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has recalled to Sergio Perez how he received “a hundred messages” when Lewis Hamilton suffered his ‘brake magic’ incident at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

That Sunday, locked in a battle with Hamilton for the Drivers’ Championship title with the two separated by four points in the Red Bull driver’s favour, Verstappen lost out on what had looked to be a sure 25 points when his left-rear tyre exploded while he was leading the race.

Slamming into the barrier on the main straight in what was a heavy hit, the race was red flagged with a standing start taking place on lap 50 with Perez ahead of Hamilton.

Perez had a slow get-away, allowing Hamilton to go flying past him only for the Mercedes driver to lock up and have to take to the escape road at Turn 1. Hamilton fell to the back of the field while Perez won the race.

The result meant neither championship hopeful scored a single point.

Verstappen, in the build up to Formula 1’s return to the Baku circuit, has recalled the moment of Hamilton’s ‘brake magic’ incident in a conversation with his team-mate.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Daniil Kvyat: Red Bull ‘stabbed me in the back’ with Max Verstappen switch

Christian Horner on the one thing that has caught him by surprise so far

Mercedes reveal aggressive upgrade plan with both factories at ‘fast pace’

“And then I hear the restart,” he said. “All the cars were [engine noise]. At one point I heard the guys brake, and I could hear a [high-pitched squeal] and then everyone was like ‘Yeah!’ like this.

“I think Gemma [Lusty, Red Bull press officer] was with me and the phone was like [buzzing noise], like a hundred messages.

“I said ‘what happened, what happened?’ and then you [Perez] were back in the lead.”

Hamilton blamed Mercedes’ brake magic’ button for his lock up

At the time Hamilton and Mercedes blamed a button for the Briton’s lock-up, Hamilton accidentally pressing the button that adjusted his W12’s brake balance which meant it shifted dramatically forward.

The then reigning World Champion refuted suggestions he’d made a mistake under pressure from Verstappen in the title race, replying: “Well, Max wasn’t in the race at the time, so it definitely wasn’t the pressure from Max.”

Denying it was a mistake, he called it an “an unforced error, really something we had that was sitting there that could have happened at any point and it unfortunately bit us pretty hard.”

But while Mercedes weren’t able to move the button ahead of the next race, the French Grand Prix, Hamilton conceding the “wheel’s not so easy to change or to move buttons on”, it was a mistake he never again made.