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F1: Hamilton insults Verstappen while praising Leclerc

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton did not pass up the opportunity to throw shade against Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen after the British Grand Prix. The two drivers had an intense title battle in 2021, and one of the most heated moments came in Silverstone last year.

This season, the title fight has mostly been between Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari. However, the seven-time world champion and his teammate, George Russell, have been the best of the rest, sitting in 5th and 6th place in the championship. While the Red Bulls and Ferraris have dominated the podium positions, the Mercedes drivers have managed to grab a few top three finishes despite their problems with porpoising and lack of pace.

The Silver Arrows saw their first real opportunity this year to fight for a win in Silverstone, with Hamilton finding himself elbowing against Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race. After getting stuck in old hard tyres, Leclerc fell back from the lead and had to relinquish the top spot to his teammate, Carlos Sainz. He then engaged in a three-way battle with Perez and Hamilton before the Red Bull driver managed to pull away. At this point, Leclerc and Hamilton were left to battle it out all the way to the chequered flag.

Fans had their hearts in their throats as the cars came side by side throughout the last few laps, but it all ended without a tragic incident. Incidentally, a similar battle in the first lap last year ended with Verstappen crashing heavily into the barriers after being tagged by Hamilton.

“Charles did a great job, what a great battle. He’s a very sensible driver, clearly a lot different to what I experienced last year,” Hamilton said after the race, clearly taking a dig at Verstappen and their previous clash.

“At Copse for example, the two of us went through there with no problem. What a battle,” he added, as quoted by Planet F1.

Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty last year for having been deemed to be “predominantly at fault” for the Verstappen clash. However, he did not hesitate to slam the Red Bull driver for what took place while praising Leclerc.

Nevertheless, Hamilton has a lot of ground to cover if he wishes to be in title contention again this year. Leclerc dominated the earlier rounds of the 2022 season before Red Bull managed to turn things around thanks in part to Ferrari’s reliability issues.

Mercedes meanwhile, are a far cry from their form in the past several seasons, which they completely dominated. Nevertheless, their performance at Silverstone showed that there is a possibility that they may have finally gotten their porpoising problems under control.

“We are still on the bend. It was a big improvement from the car but we’ve still got work to do,” said Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton celebrated an unexpected third place AFP / Giuseppe CACACE
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