The rear wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes is likely to be safe from Max Verstappen during the upcoming F1 season after the Red Bull racer revealed what he’d rather spend money on than another fine. To the Dutchman, that cash would be much better spent buying in-game currency for his FIFA account.
Verstappen was, of course, referring to an incident at the Brazilian Grand Prix last season which landed him in hot water with the stewards.
He was seen closely inspecting the rear wing of Hamilton’s car, comparing it to his own after the Mercedes set the faster time during qualifying.
But parc ferme conditions were in force at the time, meaning Verstappen was breaking the rules by touching his rival’s car.
He was slapped with a £42,500 fine after being summoned to explain himself to the stewards, while Hamilton was disqualified from the session because that rear wing did not comply with F1 rules.
“It’s quite a big fine, so I hope they have a nice dinner and a lot of wine,” was Verstappen’s tongue-in-cheek response to his punishment.
this or that: world champion edition ??
— Red Bull (@redbull) February 11, 2022
“I hope good expensive wine, that would be nice. They can invite me for dinner as well. I’ll pay for that dinner too.”
He later revealed that he would be paying the fine out of his own pocket rather than the team covering it for him.
“I do have to pay. So that’s a little bit less FIFA points for me on my laptop,” he was overheard telling fellow racer Valtteri Bottas.
It’s fair to say that incident had been long forgotten by most considering all the drama that was still to come at the business end of the 2021 season.
But it was brought back to the forefront of the fans’ minds on Friday as Red Bull made a light-hearted reference to it.
In a promotional video featuring Verstappen choosing between two favourite options on a variety of subjects, they couldn’t resist asking the Dutchman if her preferred to spend cash on FIFA points or touching a rear wing.
“I would go for buying more FIFA points,” was the 24-year-old’s answer.
“I think it gives me more satisfaction in the end.”
Another chapter of the rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton is set to be written this year, with the Briton looking set to race in the new season.
There had been persistent rumours that he was considering retiring from the sport in the wake of losing the world championship in acrimonious circumstances at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
But he has since ended his social media silence with posts hinting that he is ready to go for what promises to be another action-packed F1 season.
He is joined at Mercedes by a new team-mate in the form of ambitious youngster George Russell, who could also be a potential title rival if he can hit the ground running with his new team.
And, with new technical rules possibly upsetting the current balance of power on the grid, there is the possibility of drivers from other teams also being in the mix for the championship.
Fans will get some idea of which teams look strongest for the 2022 campaign after testing sessions in Barcelona and Bahrain over the next few weeks.
The first race of the season is scheduled for March 20, as the calendar begins once again with the Bahrain Grand Prix.