George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Red Bull star Max Verstappen said it’s ‘pretty cheap’ for duo Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff to blame Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes’ showing at the Mexican Grand Prix. Both seven-time world champion Hamilton and Mercedes team boss Wolff appeared to be critical of Bottas’ defending, with Verstappen able to overtake both drivers on the first corner.
In the aftermath of the race, Wolff commented on how the Finn – who is set to be replaced by George Russell at the Silver Arrows when he goes to Alfa Romeo at the end of the season – left a ‘bus lane’ of room around the outside.
Wolff defended Bottas’ motivation ahead of his impending move in the title race, suggesting he wouldn’t have secured pole position if it was otherwise.
However, the Austrian was frustrated with Verstappen’s early move, which the Dutchman held on to win the race and extend his championship lead.
“That should not happen,” Wolff told Sky.
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“I think we had two cars in front and seemed to open up the seal for Max to come around the outside.”
Verstappen’s title rival Hamilton was also frustrated with his teammate, suggesting ‘we all have bad days’.
The Brit was more direct when he was asked to explain the opening corner in detail.
“I had envisaged it differently naturally in the sense that Valtteri maybe got a better start and I would have tried to get into his tow but obviously I was alongside him which was good,” Hamilton said.
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“I was covering my side of the track making sure that no one could come up the inside so was trying to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind.
“I thought Valtteri would be doing the same but he left the door open for Max.
“Max was on the racing line so did a mega job braking for Turn 1 and I was on the inside on the dirt and there was no hope for me.”
His comments led to Verstappen suggesting it is ‘pretty cheap’ to ‘put it all on Bottas’ for Mercedes’ Mexican disappointment.
“You have to leave a car width of space, otherwise he would have got a penalty. I don’t really know what Toto is talking about. You can very easily blame it on Valtteri, but I think that’s very cheap.” Verstappen is quoted as saying by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
Hamilton appeared to backtrack on his comments as he desperately tries to maintain unity within the team ahead of the crucial final four races.
In an Instagram post on Monday afternoon, the 36-year-old wrote: “Yesterday I said VB left the door open and naturally people will jump to criticise.
“We are a team and we win and lose as a team. There is not one single person responsible for winning or losing, we do it together good or bad.
“You may be able to beat us, but you won’t be able to break us.
“Onto the next one Valtteri, let’s keep pushing bro!”
Formula 1 returns to the Interlagos in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 14, with Verstappen holding a 19-point lead over Hamilton.
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