Hamilton saga 'just ridiculous', fumes Verstappen

By Sports Desk July 31, 2021

Max Verstappen has angrily hit out at the continued questioning he and Lewis Hamilton are receiving after their Silverstone clash.

Hamilton, who is on pole for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, received a controversial 10-second time penalty having collided with title rival Verstappen on the opening lap at the British Grand Prix last time out.

But while Verstappen was forced to retire from the race and sent to hospital for checks, Hamilton recovered from his punishment and went on to record a famous win that reignited his labouring championship bid.
 
A fierce war of words followed as Red Bull criticised Hamilton and race stewards for what had transpired.

But two weeks on in Hungary, Verstappen has been unimpressed at repeated questions on the matter.

He then hit out when he was asked after qualifying how he and Hamilton would approach the start of this race if they end up wheel-to-wheel once more.

Standings leader Verstappen, who starts third behind Valtteri Bottas and ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, cut off the question at a news conference for the top three drivers.

"Can we just already stop about this because we've had so many f*****g questions about this," he said

"It's just ridiculous, honestly. The whole Thursday we've been answering this stupid s**t all the time. 

"So can we just stop about it please? We are racers. We will race. And, of course, we are going to race hard but fair. We'll just be pushing each other."

As the fallout from the British GP incident continues, Hamilton was booed by the Hungary crowd during qualifying and after recording the fastest time on Saturday.

The Mercedes driver told fans at the circuit they had "fuelled" his success as he seeks a 100th career Formula One win.

Asked about the booing, Verstappen said: "What do you want me to say? It is not correct, of course, but at the end of the day I think we are drivers. 

"We shouldn't get disturbed by these kind of things. You should anyway just focus on what you have to do and that's deliver in the car. 

"Luckily we wear helmets actually when driving. When it matters you don't hear anything. That's maybe a bit different to other sports, probably we are quite lucky with that.

"Of course, it's not nice but it shouldn't influence any of us. I think we are all very professional."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was in a jovial mood after his team's qualifying success and he was shown Verstappen's comments as part of an interview with Sky Sports.

Asked what he thought would happen at the first corner, he joked fifth-placed Pierre Gasly could be primed to benefit from another Mercedes-Red Bull clash.

"Let’s see what happens, I think it's going to be an exciting start," Wolff said.

"Maybe Gasly leads after turn one and all four cars are out! 

"I'm just joking, I hope not. But it will be an exciting turn one and for sure from the strategy, we will see some interesting manoeuvres.

"But if I start teaching my drivers about how to approach turn one, it has actually completely gone off the rails.

"It [the rivalry] is exciting. You guys and everybody needs headlines and that keeps the sport interesting. It keeps stitching us up! But none of them has lost respect for each other, so let's see what happens."

Verstappen's lead in the standings has been cut to eight points, while Red Bull are just four clear in the constructors' championship.

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  • 'There was a lot going on, yeah?' – Carlos Sainz breaks his F1 duck with stunning Silverstone victory 'There was a lot going on, yeah?' – Carlos Sainz breaks his F1 duck with stunning Silverstone victory

    Carlos Sainz hailed an "amazing" first Formula One victory as the Spaniard finally earned top step on the podium by winning a dramatic British Grand Prix.

    His Ferrari took the glory at Silverstone, some 12 years after Sainz won on the track in his fledgling Formula BMW days, a world away from the elite level of motorsport.

    The 27-year-old overtook team-mate Charles Leclerc after a safety car delay, which followed a lap-39 breakdown for Esteban Ocon.

    While Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso fought for the lower steps of the podium, Sainz stayed out of trouble and powered to the chequered flag.

    This was his 150th grand prix, and despite achieving a flood of podium finishes, a win had been elusive until now.

    "It's amazing. A first race win, 150 races later, with Ferrari in Silverstone. I cannot ask for more," Sainz said.

    "It's a very special day, a day I shall never forget. Lewis was on it today, I heard, but we managed to hold on and I'm incredibly happy.

    "It was not easy. I struggled quite a bit with the balance, especially on the first stint with the medium tyre, Max [Verstappen] was forcing us to push a lot through the high speed. I opened the front left, but even with all that I stayed believing that it could happen. I needed to stay in the race.

    "All of a sudden the safety car gave me the opportunity to get back on it, and we did it. You can imagine the nerves on the safety car restart knowing it was my chance and getting it done and then the win."

    Reflecting on the drama behind him, Sainz said: "There was a lot going on, yeah?

    "Silverstone has been a bit of a special place for me. I had a first ever race win for me in Formula BMW in 2010, first pole position here back in 2010, and suddenly 12 years later I achieve exactly the same but in Formula One with Ferrari."

    Perez took second place, with Hamilton third

    Mexican driver Perez suffered damage to the front wing of his car on the first lap, finding himself sandwiched between Verstappen and Leclerc, but recovered admirably from having to dive into the pits for repairs.

    "It was a great comeback," Perez said. "We didn't give up, and we kept pushing. Then the opportunity came at the end, and we took it.

    "It was a great fight with Charles and then with Lewis. It was an epic final lap, and it was a good fight within us."

  • Hamilton hails Mercedes upgrade after another Silverstone podium Hamilton hails Mercedes upgrade after another Silverstone podium

    Lewis Hamilton snatched third place at the British Grand Prix and hailed his Mercedes team for making another positive stride after their difficult start to the Formula One season.

    The seven-time world champion has secured back-to-back podium finishes for the first time this season, with Mercedes utilising upgrade packages to alleviate the issues they encountered in the first chunk of the campaign.

    While they remain off the pace of the title-fighting Red Bulls and Ferraris, Hamilton believes the performance at Silverstone was another significant step in the team's recovery.

    "I gave it everything today, trying to chase down those Ferraris. Congratulations to Carlos, they were too quick for us today," he said.

    "In the end, I was in amongst that battle with Checo [Sergio Perez], those guys were just too quick on the straights for me today.

    "I'm so grateful for the hard work all the team did to make an upgrade here, we got a step closer to them, so we need to keep pushing."

    Hamilton, who was congratulated after the race by Hollywood star Tom Cruise, said: "We lost a bit of time in the pit stop, then I was chasing and chasing and chasing, but the pace was great on both sets of tyres. At the end, it was a little bit difficult; once you get a Red Bull behind you, they are so fast on the straights. 

    "We've got some improvements to make, but this is a huge bonus for to be on the podium."

    Hamilton paid tribute to the home fans at Silverstone following what has been a record-breaking attendance for the British Grand Prix, with over 400,000 attending across the four days.

    "I have to give it up for this crowd, we've had the biggest show in history for an event in the UK, so I really have to say thank you to everyone for incredible support," he added.

    "We don't see this anywhere else around the world, this is literally the greatest group we get to see."

  • Sainz secures Silverstone victory and Hamilton shines after Zhou crash Sainz secures Silverstone victory and Hamilton shines after Zhou crash

    Carlos Sainz secured the first win of his Formula One career in a dramatic British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Zhou Guanyu was involved in a huge crash.

    The 10th race of the 2022 F1 season saw another significant swing in the title race, with Max Verstappen's lead over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez taking a dent after the defending champion sustained floor damage.

    Sainz's victory – in his 150th grand prix start – was not as comfortable as he would have liked, with the opportunity seemingly having passed as Ferrari ordered him to relinquish his position to team-mate Charles Leclerc as he lacked pace but then benefited from a late safety car, retaking the lead after changing to soft tyres.

    A terrifying crash on the opening lap involving five cars left George Russell, Alex Albon and Zhou out of the race and a red flag waving, with the latter left upside down and stuck inside his Alfa Romeo for a lengthy period before being taken away on a stretcher, though thankfully the message from the team was that he was okay.

    Under the red flag restart, the initial grid order was reinstated and Verstappen, who had overtaken Sainz, was unable to repeat his feat, while Perez had contact with Leclerc that resulted in the Mexican driver tumbling down the order after an early pit stop.

    An error from Sainz on lap 10 saw the Spaniard run wide and onto the grass, with Verstappen taking the opportunity to seize the lead, but his advantage lasted just two laps as he ran over a piece of debris and suffered floor damage, resulting in a significant loss of pace even after a pit stop.

    Sainz pitted at the end of lap 20, with Leclerc following suit six laps later to leave Hamilton in the lead, but a slow pit on lap 34 left him adrift of the two Ferraris, putting Leclerc in the lead after Ferrari swapped positions prior to Hamilton's stop.

    Esteban Ocon's breakdown on the old pit straight on lap 39 resulted in a safety car, with Leclerc, who did not pit for soft tyres, overtaken by Sainz – leaving Leclerc, Hamilton and Perez fighting for a podium finish and exchanging positions multiple times.

    Perez's promising push

    Perez's early pit stop looked to have ended his hopes of a podium finish, but he was a major beneficiary of the safety car as it allowed him to take his required pit stop without losing time, sitting fourth for the restart.

    A thrilling battle with Hamilton and Leclerc saw him go wheel-to-wheel with both drivers before taking them both, securing a second-place finish that moved him 34 behind Verstappen in the championship standings. 

    Russell's record ends

    Russell headed into his home Grand Prix with the tag of Mr Consistent, standing as the only driver in 2022 to finish all nine rounds in the top five, but that run came to an end at Silverstone following the collision that resulted in a red flag.

    The early end to his race also means he finished behind Hamilton for the second race in a row – the first time since his move to Mercedes that he has been outperformed by his team-mate in back-to-back race weekends.

    IN THE POINTS

    1. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
    2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +3.779
    3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +6.225
    4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +8.546
    5. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +9.571
    6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +11.943
    7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +18.777
    8. Mick Schumacher (Haas) +18.995
    9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +22.356
    10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +24.590

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 181
    2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 147
    3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 138
    4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 127
    5. George Russell (Mercedes) 111

    Constructors

    1. Red Bull 328
    2. Ferrari 265
    3. Mercedes 204
    4. McLaren 73
    5. Alpine 67

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