Lewis Hamilton said yesterday he would be ready to repeat his attempt to pass Max Verstappen which caused the championship leader to crash out of the British Grand Prix earlier this month.
Dutchman Verstappen was taken to hospital as seven-time champion Hamilton closed the gap to eight points in the standings before this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“In terms of the move, I’d do it again exactly as I’ve done it in the past,” he said.
“I think, growing up, wheel-to-wheel racing was always the best, from karting. The most exciting part of motor sport is when you see close racing.
“We’re now seeing two teams incredibly close on performance. And if there’s more people watching then that tells you all you need to know,” he added.
Earlier, 23-year-old Verstappen said he remained unhappy with Hamilton despite clearing the air with the Briton during a phone call following their spectacular crash. The Red Bull driver declined to go into any detail, adding instead he was more upset by the defending champion’s post-race celebrations.
“One guy is in hospital, the other guy is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you pushed the guy into the wall with 51Gs,” he said. “And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team. That’s not how you celebrate a win. Especially a win – how they got it.
“That’s what I found really disrespectful. In a way, it shows how they really are. It comes out after a pressure situation. I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”
Mercedes’ Hamilton defended his reaction after the win. “I don’t believe our behaviour was disrespectful. It’s one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened and there’s one thing not knowing and celebrating. Obviously I wasn’t aware,” Hamilton said.
“It was my home Grand Prix and we worked incredibly hard for who knows how long to get a result like that.
“Emotions were running high. It wasn’t an intentional celebration it was just the joy of seeing so many people and so many people celebrating, being together and that’s the natural emotion. I’m not going to hide my emotions. It was an amazing feeling,” he added.
Verstappen distanced himself from claims made by his team boss Christian Horner who accused seven-time champion Hamilton of “dirty driving”.
“That’s the first time I heard it like that. No, I think he just misjudged the moment in that corner.”
Hamilton, 36, received a 10-second penalty for his role in the collision and Verstappen said it was too lenient.
“I don’t think the penalty was correct because basically you take out your main rival and, especially with the speed we have in our cars, we are miles ahead of, let’s say, the third-best team.
“We are easily 40, 50 seconds ahead in normal conditions. So, a 10 second penalty doesn’t do anything so definitely that penalty should have been more severe.”
The Dutchman holds a slender lead over Hamilton ahead of the 11th race of the season on Sunday, subject to a possible review of the Silverstone result that could be triggered by Red Bull’s attempt to persuade a stewards’ hearing, later on Thursday, that the penalty was insufficiently severe.
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