Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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The father of Max Verstappen has poked fun at Mercedes for their failure to beat Red Bull at the Dutch Grand Prix after watching his son take the checkered flag ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Jos Verstappen even referenced the bitter title clash between the pair in 2021, suggesting the team had “apparently not” learned from their mistakes.
The Silver Arrows made a risky call to bring in George Russell for fresh tyres before the safety car restart, with Hamilton leading and Verstappen in third. Pitting Russell would leave Hamilton exposed on the restart, as Verstappen had pitted for a new set of soft tyres against the Briton’s used mediums.
It was a similar scenario that played out on the final lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, whereby Verstappen overtook Hamilton during a thrilling and controversial finale having made the decision to pit for fresh rubber.
Verstappen’s win in the Middle East confirmed him as the Drivers’ Champion for the first time in his career and after watching the 24-year-old mastermind another victory after passing Hamilton at Zandvoort, Jos Verstappen could not resist aiming a dig at Mercedes.
“It was super exciting, but Red Bull was back on top”, Verstappen Sr told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “Max tried all the tyres and indicated which compound would work best.
Mercedes also went well, they definitely had a chance to win. But luckily it turned out well for us. And you would think that Mercedes learned from last year’s race in Abu Dhabi, but apparently not!”
Verstappen Sr’s comments would have only rubbed salt into the wound for Hamilton, who had looked on course for his first win of the season only to finish fourth to continue his dreadful campaign for the Silver Arrows.
The seven-time world champion was ultimately left him exposed to the sheer pace of Verstappen’s RB18 down the straight on the safety car restart as he lost his place immediately. However, it was later discovered the 37-year-old had pressed the wrong button which activated a slower engine mode, giving him less power to defend against the Dutchman.
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A frustrated Hamilton apologised to his team after the race, having ripped into the strategists on the radio with several expletives following their decision to bring in Russell. He said: “I can’t believe you guys have screwed me like this. I can’t tell you how p***ed I am right now.”
The eight-time Constructors’ title winners are yet to claim victory this season, although their increase in race pace was evident and George Russell came home in second, only four seconds adrift of Verstappen.
Hamilton has not won a race since Saudi Arabia in December last year and he is at risk of losing his record of winning a race in every season since his debut in 2007.
As a contrast, Verstappen has now won 10 of 15 races and the championship leader has extended his advantage over Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez to 109 points with only seven races to go as he closes in on his second crown.
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