Max Verstappen gives “idiot” Lewis Hamilton the finger in fiery US GP practice session
It may only be Friday, but Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have already had their first flashpoint of the weekend at the US Grand Prix as their title battle continues
Max Verstappen lost his cool during an F1 practice session ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix, branding Lewis Hamilton a “stupid idiot” and giving his title rival the finger.
Dutchman Verstappen holds a six-point advantage over Hamilton going into the final six races of the season at the top of the drivers’ championship.
The Brit drove up the inside of Verstappen forcing the Red Bull driver off the track in Austin, Texas. Verstappen was less than impressed by the move of his rival from Mercedes, and made his feelings clear over the team radio before aiming the gesture at the seven-time world champion.
It is the latest incident of a tempestuous season which has seen Verstappen and Hamilton crash at both Silverstone and Monza. The flashpoint in Italy saw Verstappen’s car end up on top of Hamilton’s in a scary incident, but both men thankfully escaped unhurt.
Former F1 driver Timo Glock speculated that Verstappen would have ‘punched’ Hamilton had the crash happened earlier in his F1 career. But Verstappen insists that is not the case, however he does accept that he has mellowed over the course of his time in the sport.
“I have got older and I have more experience, but I don’t necessarily think I would have punched Lewis,” he said. “It is just that you experience more things and you learn how to deal with the sport better – that is just a natural process.
“I have been very relaxed the whole year. I cannot speak for Lewis, but from my side, there is no real extra pressure.” Verstappen also played down the rivalry between the two title rivals, and insisted all was forgiven after the incident at Monza.
“We have got together a few times and we were not happy with each other,” he added “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.
“We all have those times where we have low moments with someone, but we are human beings. We move on, and we forgive.”