The intense rivalry between Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the 2021 Formula One season has been the subject of much discussion among fans and commentators. While the two have remained respectful toward each other in the 2022 season, there have been signs of uneasiness. Prior to the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton surprised many by praising Verstappen in a pre-race press conference.
“I can’t say that I’ve had time to study every aspect of what Max has done this year, but I think he has done an amazing job,” Hamilton said. “He has done everything that he had to do. The team provided him with an amazing car and he has delivered pretty much every weekend. I know he can be proud of the job he has done.”
However, tensions between the two drivers came to a head during the race after the first safety car restart, when they collided. Hamilton was terse in his comments after the race, saying, “What can I say, you know how it is with Max, so…”
In the post-race press conference, Hamilton was asked if he was concerned about the possibility of their feud being reignited. He replied, “I’m not concerned. Yeah, don’t have any concerns, I think. I think it’s natural when you have the success and the numbers on your chest, that you become a bit of a target. But it’s okay. It’s nothing that I have not dealt with before.”
Verstappen, on the other hand, expressed disappointment with the incident, saying, “After last year, I had thought that this was behind us, that we could just race against each other. I wanted to race, thought we were racing too. But if the other does not want to be part of that… Fine, but then we both go off.”
It remains to be seen whether the relationship between Hamilton and Verstappen will continue to be strained in the coming races or if they will be able to put their differences aside and compete fairly on the track.