Max Verstappen says he and Lewis Hamilton have put their various collisions this season behind them and have “forgiven” each other.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Texas, where Verstappen will attempt to hang on to his slender six-point advantage in the drivers’ championship, the Dutchman insisted their relationship was not as acrimonious as it was made out to be.
But he admitted that emotions sometimes bubbled over in the heat of the moment. “We all have those times when we have low moments with someone, but we are human beings,” the Red Bull driver said. “We move on, and we forgive.
“We have got together a few times and we were not happy with each other. But a few races later you can see us sitting together in a press conference and laughing with each other again, and that is how racing goes. A lot of people look at you and rate the rivalry, but at the end of the day it is not all that bad.
“Nobody looks to get together in a race, but unfortunately these things happen. They have happened in go-karting and they have happened in Formula One.”
Verstappen (24) is hunting his first world title this season, while Hamilton (36) is attempting to wrap up a record eighth.
And their once friendly relationship has been strained by a series of incidents, starting in the first race, when Verstappen overtook Hamilton with three laps remaining of the Bahrain GP only to be ordered to give the place back for exceeding track limits. The niggling continued at Imola, where the two title rivals made minor contact with each other, sending Hamilton’s Mercedes rattling over the kerbs.
The rivalry boiled over at Hamilton’s home race in July when Verstappen was admitted to hospital after a “51G impact with the barriers” following a collision with Hamilton on the entry to Copse on the first lap.
Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty, but went on to win, leaving Verstappen and Red Bull feeling aggrieved and complaining of “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” celebrations.
At Monza, another incident felt almost inevitable, with the two colliding on the opening lap, and again midway through the race, the second incident causing Verstappen’s car to fly up and land on Hamilton’s halo protective device.
US Grand Prix qualifying,
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