Hamilton on FP2 ‘drag race’ with Verstappen: “It’s all fun and games”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says he didn’t run Max Verstappen wide in their United States Grand Prix FP2 ‘drag race’, instead Max “decided to go round the outside and ended up going wide”.

As Max Verstappen was preparing to start his push lap during United States Grand Prix Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton came up behind him and they went wheel-to-wheel across the start-finish line.

While they were having this ‘drag race’, Verstappen ran wide and was running over the exit kerb.

At Turn 1 Lewis moved ahead on the inside line and passed the Dutch driver, which caused him to back away from his flying lap and raise his middle finger toward the Briton.

Verstappen then said over the team radio: “Ha, stupid idiot”, to which his race engineer responded with: “Ignore it, don’t worry about it”.

However, additional video footage later revealed what preceded Lewis’ overtake attempt. Verstappen actually overtook Lewis a few seconds earlier and basically brake tested him, which led to Lewis simply wanting get ahead and move away.

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After the session Max Verstappen was asked to explain what actually happened.

“Yeah I don’t know,” said the Dutch driver.

“I mean we were all lining up to go for a lap, so I don’t really understand what happened there.”

At the post qualifying press conference Lewis was also asked to give his comments on the situation.

“Well firstly, I didn’t run him wide,” the Briton said.

“He decided to go round the outside and ended up going wide because… you can ask him, but we were battling into the last corner… and it’s a silly thing. It’s all fun and games.

“We’ll have fun tomorrow and give it everything as you would expect, no real difference to any other part of the season and yeah, that’s all,” concluded the seven-time champion.

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