F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Verstappen’s hopes of ending Hamilton’s dominance in Formula 1 have been handed a boost as the Mercedes driver takes a grid penalty ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix. Mercedes have changed parts to reduce the risk of the Briton suffering a mechanical failure in the remainder of the season, but this means he must take a penalty at the start of the race. However, he has taken only one power-unit component – the internal combustion engine – so escapes a full grid drop. Verstappen also changed his engine parts in the lead up to the race two weeks ago – the Russian Grand Prix – but managed to finish second nonetheless. The two drivers are separated by just two points this season as their rivalry intensifies.
While this is the first year the Dutchman has challenged Hamilton, Verstappen’s father Jos helped inspire the tension way back in 2019.
After the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, Jos said Hamilton is threatened by his son.
He told Ziggo Sport: “I know what it is. Lewis just feels threatened by Max. Let’s get a good car next year. Then we’ll see.
“Max is in their head and you can tell by everything.”
The comments came after Hamilton criticised Verstappen for clashing with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas at the 2019 US Grand Prix.
Hamilton said after the incident: “I spoke to Max even before the race and I was like, ‘Dude you’re such a great racer, man.
“Let’s just squash whatever there is between us because it’s just fake, it’s nothing. Whatever beef [there is] let’s just get rid of it. Let’s go out there and have a great race’.
“He’s a champion of the future and I’m going to work as hard as I can to stop that happening for a while, but I’m enjoying racing with him.”
The war of words has escalated this season after two big crashes between Hamilton and Verstappen.
In July, the British Grand Prix was marred by controversy when Hamilton caught the rear of Verstappen’s car, sending his Red Bull car off track and into the wall.
The Briton went on to win the race despite receiving a 10 second penalty.
Following the race, the Red Bull man accused his Mercedes counterpart of being “disrespectful” with his celebrations.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner accused Hamilton of endangering Verstappen’s life in the 180mph collision.
Then last month, the title challengers came together again, this time in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Verstappen emerged from the pits side by side with Hamilton before attempting an overtake going into the first chicane.
But the Dutchman’s car hit a curb and ended up bouncing on top of the Mercedes car. Both retired from the race after getting stuck in the gravel.
Red Bull chief Helmut Marko accused Hamilton of putting on a “show” as the Briton mentioned a slight injury he had sustained.
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He said: “It was a normal racing accident, all the stories around it were pulled by Mercedes.
“Verstappen had already got off when Hamilton tried to get out of the gravel trap with the return. The medical car saw this and drove on.
“And then a show is pulled off that poor Hamilton is suddenly injured, et cetera.”
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has said it is “pretty clear” who was at fault but has refused to give his verdict
He added: “They are fighting for a championship. You’re more exposed to these kinds of incidents [in that scenario], like we’ve seen in the past.
“I guess it’s a natural thing in Formula 1, two guys that are fighting for the championship tend to collide more often than not.”
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