Max Verstappen says it was “easy” for Lewis Hamilton to blame him for their Bahrain GP collision and insists he will not change his driving style.
Verstappen suffered terminal damage to his Red Bull after clipping Hamilton’s Mercedes when he attempted to pass the world champion at the inside of Turn One on the second lap of last Sunday’s race.
Both drivers said the other was at fault, with Hamilton accusing Verstappen of a lack of respect and saying the 20-year-old was making “inexperienced” moves and making too many mistakes.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collide on the second lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix
But a defiant Verstappen says he had a fair chance at the move and had not done anything “crazy”.
“It’s simple and easy to blame the younger driver. That’s the only way I can see it. There is no reason for me to change anything,” Verstappen said ahead of this weekend’s Chinese GP.
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“I might have a talk with [Lewis], it depends if it’s really necessary. Why should I change something? I don’t think I did anything wrong in terms of my approach. I was just trying to overtake a car and I think it was a fair chance. I went for it.
“That’s racing – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You can say whatever you like about the incident. I had fair shot at it, it was nothing crazy, nothing risky but unfortunately this time it didn’t work out.
“Looking back, in Mexico last year it did work out, this time maybe we didn’t give each other enough space. That’s racing.”
Lewis Hamilton questioned Max Verstappen’s manoeuvre which led to a left-rear puncture for the Dutchman, asking for a 'certain level of respect between drivers' and calling the move 'silly' and 'unnecessary'
How the row unfolded
Both drivers had found themselves starting out of position in Bahrain, Hamilton lining up ninth on the grid while Verstappen started 15th after spinning in qualifying.
Verstappen made a flying start to find himself behind Hamilton by the end of the opening lap and attempted a pass at the first corner.
But his RB14 clipped Hamilton’s W09 in the process, puncturing his left rear tyre and damaging his car’s differential and Verstappen was forced to retire moments later.
The stewards deemed it a ‘racing incident’, but Verstappen queried that decision at the time, telling Sky F1: “I had a good run out of the last corner so I went for the inside,
“I think if it was the other way around he would have said something. From my side I gave him enough room.”
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has blamed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for their collision on the second lap of the Bahrain GP.
Hamilton labelled Verstappen a “d***head” in the cooldown room before saying the Dutchman lacked respect in his press conference.
“There needs to be a certain respect between drivers,” claimed Hamilton. “And ultimately… maybe I need to go and watch the manoeuvre again, but it didn’t feel like a respectful manoeuvre.
“It was a silly manoeuvre for himself, because he didn’t finish the race. And obviously he’s tending to make quite a few mistakes recently, so it was just unnecessary for him to do that.”
And having watched the incident again before leaving Bahrain, Hamilton suggested Verstappen was missing out on points due to his inexperience.
“I just think for him, he’s a young driver and is going to be learning all the time, he’s got fantastic pace but, as youngsters, we do not always make the right decisions,” said Hamilton, who is 13 years Verstappen’s senior.
“It’s interesting to hear from Christian [Horner] because they have got a car that should be getting good results and through these kind of… I don’t know if they are inexperienced, or not potentially mature, decisions, they’re not getting the results they would have. He should have finished a decent race really because he’s good enough to do that.
“I think to myself if Fernando [Alonso]’s in that car he would have finished a decent race and got points for Red Bull. I’d like to think if I was in that car I would have got points for Red Bull.”
After Lewis Hamilton was questioned about his comments on the collision that put Max Verstappen out of the Bahrain Grand Prix, race-winner Sebastian Vettel stepped in to defend him. How to follow the Chinese GP on Sky F1 Friday April 13 Sky F1 digital live blog 3am: P1 LIVE! (Build-up 2.45am) 7am: P2 LIVE! (Build-up 6.45am) Saturday April 14 Sky F1 digital live blog 4am: P3 LIVE! (Build-up 3.45am) 7am: Qualifying LIVE! (Build-up 6am) 8.45am: The F1 Show LIVE! Sunday April 15 Sky F1 digital live blog 5.30am: Pit Lane LIVE 6.30am: On the Grid LIVE! 7.10am: The Chinese GP LIVE!
Will Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari make it three wins in a row or can Mercedes and Red Bull respond in Shanghai? Watch the Chinese GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Get Sky Sports F1.
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