Max Verstappen won his maiden Monaco Grand Prix and took a thinly-veiled swipe at world champion Lewis Hamilton, telling his title rival: “Actions speak louder than words.”
The Dutch Red Bull driver coasted to victory from the pole position he inherited from Charles Leclerc when the Ferrari driver was unable to start the race because of a gearbox issue.
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“First of all, I want to say that actions always speak louder than words. I think that’s a good lesson after this weekend,” said Verstappen who has now taken over the lead of the world championship from Hamilton.
The British star had said on the eve of the race that “perhaps Max feels he has a lot to prove”.
“I’m not necessarily in the same boat there and I’m more long-term, ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’ sort of mentality, which is ultimately why I have the stats that I have,” Hamilton said.
Verstappen now has two wins to his name this season and leads the championship by four points from Mercedes’ Hamilton.
It is the first time in his career he has led a world championship.
“You have to do your talking on the track, and that’s what I love,” he said. “As a team we have made the fewest mistakes so far and that is why we are leading (one point ahead of Mercedes in the constructors).
“I hope we can continue like this for the rest of the season. And there is still a long way to go.”
Verstappen, 23, celebrated his victory with girlfriend Kelly Piquet, 32, who couldn’t help but rush over to the young gun as he stepped out of the car to soak up the win.
Clearly, the couple don’t have a problem with PDA as they embraced and smooched in front of everyone.
Sealed with a kiss.Source:AFP
Piquet couldn’t wait to celebrate.Source:Getty Images
Winners are grinners.Source:AFP
She wanted to smooch Verstappen even before he’d got his helmet off.Source:AFP
Verstappen’s victory, however, was not one for the purists as the tight Monaco street circuit once again made overtaking impossible turning the eagerly-awaited event, which was shelved due to the pandemic in 2020, into a flat procession.
“Obviously it always seems under control, but staying focused for so many laps, it’s the most difficult,” said Verstappen.
“It’s easy to relax a bit and it’s easy to make a mistake, so you have to remember: stay focused, keep your thoughts fixed on the road.”
It was a weekend to forget for Hamilton and his Mercedes team, The seven-time champion finished in a lowly seventh place and teammate Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire.
“This has definitely been a poor weekend overall in terms of our performance, but this team has shown time and time again, how we come back fighting,” said Hamilton.
“There’s no finger pointing, we win and we lose together — we just need to find our feet and stay cool, we have 18 races left and there’s a long way to go in this fight.”
Bottas finds himself in fourth place in the standings, already 49 points behind Verstappen.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s obviously hugely disappointing and we need to learn so it never happens again,” said the Finn of his race-ending botched pit stop.
Mercedes team chief Too Wolff added: “We had a pretty terrible race day.”
Piquet chooses Max after splitting with fellow F1 star
Love is in the air.Source:Getty Images
Verstappen, 23, went public earlier this year with his new romance with Piquet, a 32-year-old Brazilian model who is the daughter of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet.
Piquet dated F1 driver Daniil Kvyat for three years before ending their relationship in late-2019 but the pair share a one-year-old daughter, Penelope.
Verstappen, who only separated with long-time girlfriend Dilara Sanlik in October, then swooped in. He posted a photograph of himself sitting with Piquet on a beach on New Year’s Day.
“Happy New Year everyone!” he wrote. “Let’s make 2021 a year to remember in many ways. Wishing you all success, love and happiness just as I found mine.”
Piquet also posted a picture of the new couple, writing: “Love is what makes the world go round. Happy new year and much love.”
Kvyat was first spotted with Piquet in 2016 but they split just before Christmas in 2019, less than five months after the birth of their daughter.
“It’s not a good thing, but Daniil seems balanced,” Red Bull boss Helmut Marko said at the time. “Therefore, we do not want to interfere, because private matters should remain private.”
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