Hamilton accuses Verstappen; Vettel defends Hamilton’s insult

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

If you were watching the post-race discussion in the drivers’ room, then you most likely heard Lewis Hamilton call Max Verstappen a “dickhead”. Hamilton happened to look at the monitor screen right when it showed the clash between he and Verstappen and voiced his opinion.

Lewis wasn’t happy with the move saying:

“Ultimately, I had a coming together with Max and it was an unnecessary collision,” said Hamilton.

“There needs to be a certain respect between drivers. I need to watch it again, but it didn’t feel like a respectful move.

“It was a silly move for him because he didn’t finish the race and obviously he’s tending to make quite a few mistakes recently.

“It was just unnecessary for him to do that. I can’t really remember what point of the race it was or why we were in that position, but I don’t really care to be honest.”

Max has had his share of “moments” with other drivers over the last couple of seasons and his aggressive style means that he’ll take every opportunity if there is daylight ahead of him. That’s his style—very aggressive and pushing the limit.

For Verstappen, the incident looked a little different:

“I had a good run out of the last corner and went for the inside,” he said.

“Lewis was trying to go around the outside and at one point I was ahead.

“I think there was still enough space on the left but I got a touch on the left rear and it destroyed my diff.”

Objectively, Max is aggressive and there have been a few moves that had the earmark of a young, brilliantly talented driver who is honing his race craft. Max entered the sport with an attitude that his race craft was as solid as those of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton but they aren’t. They wouldn’t be for any driver in just his second or third season in the big league.

That’s nothing to do with Max but more to do with the experience. A young driver such as Stroll, Ocon or Leclerc hasn’t been in all the situations and permutations that Formula 1 can present a driver with. It takes time to learn how to drive amongst a herd of other F1 drivers and there is respect and a code of ethics that the veterans try to race by.

Having said that, Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, and Raikkonen have all been there. They’ve made the over-aggressive mistakes and moves that were never going to pan out. They sometimes still do but they are rarer than before. They are also all as aggressive as Max is and that’s what makes them champions and what could make Max a champion in waiting. I think Max was being a bit over confident and aggressive with the move but I liked the fact that he took it and tried to make something happen for himself. It is the exact same thing Hamilton did when he first arrived and he did it to his teammate, Fernando Alonso while at McLaren. Vettel did it with his teammate, Mark Webber, and Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton had an unlikely defender regarding his “dickhead” comment in the form of Sebastian Vettel who interrupted the Q&A for Hamilton when he said:

“Can I answer that?” Vettel said. “It’s not fair – I don’t know what Lewis did, we’ve all been in that situation.

“We fight someone and sometimes we go wheel-to-wheel, and it’s close, and we have a lot of adrenaline going.

“Do you think, if you compare it to football, if you have a microphone on a footballer’s mouth that everything he says is something nice, and it’s a nice message when the guy tackles him and sometimes he fouls him?

“I don’t think it’s justified to give us this kind of shit question and making up a story out of nothing.”

Vettel said it was normal for a driver to react emotionally in high-pressure situations.

“We are just racing, we are full of adrenaline and we say these things,” he added.

“If I hit you in your face, you are not going to tell me, ‘Sebastian, that wasn’t nice’.

“It’s a human reaction, and sometimes I feel it’s all a bit blown up and artificial if we have these questions trying to make something out of nothing.”

To be fair, that’s perfectly true to. In the heat of the battle, these drivers aren’t friends and Vettel has been on the receiving end of Max’s aggression a time or two to prove it. Vettel has also been called out for comments he’s made in the press as well as Hamilton.

Was it a good move? I’ll let you be the judge.

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Yes, Verstappen is a ‘dickhead’, it’s probably a necessary part of make up of being a top line GP driver.
At the moment he frustrates the heck out of me. He’s obviously very talented, but makes way too many mistakes. The RBR is just off the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari so if they’re going to take podiums or wins, its going to take guile, not ‘going at it like a Red Bull at a gate’.


Yep Max has surprised me this year. With the exception of Hungary he was very clean & clinical in 2017 and I expected more of the same, especially since he’s signed up a long term contract and doesn’t have to worry about his immediate future. Instead he’s started the season as if he has a point to prove & is making rookie mistakes – aggressively wearing his rears out in Melbourne culminating in a spin, the crash in qualy at Bahrain, and prematurely slamming the door on Lewis. Not what I’ve come to expect from him. I’d blame his handling… Read more »


You’re right, there were times last year it looked had cleaned up his act.
I wonder if he’s come out this year with the mindset that he wants to destroy Ricciardo, but he’s trying too hard?

sunny stivala

Yes he might be a dick head, but the funny thing is it had to be a dick head to recognize a dick head when he saw one. #44 was lucky to have inherited third place. A much clearer picture is coming out on Japanese sites as to the Honda engine and upgrades used by Gasley. It was incredible of Gasley saying “the engine/car was so good I could drive flat out all race” Anybody dreamed lately of such a thing out of Honda? Remember that driving flat-out means no need to fuel save or save engine as much as… Read more »


Knowing Alonso’s history didn’t we all expect the Honda to be outrageously good this year?

sunny stivala

#33 problem at this point in his career is that he is just like his father, by that I mean he drives like a bull in a china shop. If he used his brains a little more, he would score 30-40 points more a season. But having said all that, in Bahrain #33 was a beautiful move that #44 couldn’t swallow. Sunday #5 overtook #44, but #5 was on fresh rubber as against #44 end of stint rubber but no hamfosu said a word about it, but when #77 on much better rubber couldn’t overtake #5 on well past their… Read more »


The actual move was a racing incident. Max was ahead of Lewis coming out of the corner and had the inside line, so it was on Lewis to back off & avoid contact. He’s done that to plenty of other drivers over the years, most notably his own teammate (Rosberg), running them out of room on the exit of T1 to take the lead – if Max was a dickhead in doing this, Lewis has been too. Maybe it wasn’t an insult so much as a compliment :) Having said that, Lewis had a knack of easing other cars off… Read more »


I would say most drivers do this same move when the opportunity presents itself. I personally don’t like it as I see it this way, both drivers have as much right as each other to be on the track. The driver is responsible to be fully aware of where your competitor is. If any part of a competitor’s car is still along side and you decide to go to the line then you are essentially trying to push a car off track. I fully support the view that this is a dickhead move (I’ve been a dick before so I… Read more »


Whats with the false equivalency? This is like people who say all Audi’s look the same or all BMWs look the same. When you don’t have a keen eye and have zero understanding of wheel to wheel racing, you end up seeing things like longshot. This is why we have this word called “racecraft”. Its all in the execution my friend. Kind of like how you can ask two actors to read the same line word for word, but one of them somehow delivers a much better performance. That’s the difference between the clumsy overtake performances we’ve seen by Max… Read more »


I think you overlooked “Lewis had a knack of easing other cars off the track on corner exits and rarely collided, so maybe Max was a tad too aggressive & clumsy.” Sounds like he’s saying Hamilton has better racecraft to me….
Sometimes it seems that you’re trying to make a statement rather than simply commenting ;-)


@arrow … so according to you I don’t have a keen eye and I have zero understanding of wheel to wheel racing, yet you then go on to basically repeat what I said. I’ve been watching F1 since the 1970s, and while I occasionally get things wrong I do believe I know what I’m talking about for the most part. At least I make a practice of trying to read & understand what people post before insulting them … actually I don’t even do that, as respect, politeness and good humor makes the world a much better place – I… Read more »


Good point, he needs to learn to pick his battles. Trying to intimidate Hamilton into backing off was never likely to work.
He could have held a tighter line and carried on racing the next couple of corners, and he probably would have got ahead of Hamilton anyway.

sunny stivala

Views are divided over #33 move on #44, but one thing was noticeable, A red bull blew past the #44 Mercedes. If one watches carefully and without blinkers, one will see that #33 was faced with a slow Alonso on the apex so he moved left and wider to avoid him, whilst doing so he forced #44 on the outside across the circuit, #44 refused to give way-even though behind-and his front wing sliced #33 rear tyre. Also the much binged by #44 fan clubs sites of his three cars at one go overtake, these people seens to have missed… Read more »

Peter Riva

Yeah, well… F1 keep needing to engender eyeballs and part of their plan, halfway through last year, was to allow audio and cameras in the pre-awards’ room, where the drivers could be heard joking, sulking, being “approachable.” Part of that desire by F1 was to hook the personal interest in the drivers by the public who otherwise only saw them in the press conferences. The awards’ ceremony public spectacle interviews, which replaced the more informative press debriefing, kept the drivers on their toes because – even if they forgot television was watching – the crowds reaction was something they could… Read more »

Peter Riva

One other thing… what’s wrong with Verstappen? Gasly.
He’s stealing the “new kid on the block with loads of talent” spot and the young, inexperienced Verstappen is handling it poorly.
The Toro Rosso celebrations for Gasly were WAY beyond any enthusiam shown for Verstappen when he was their driver. That either says loads about who Verstappen is behind the scenes or tons about how great Gasly is. You can’t fool mechanics.
Verstappen may well handle that show of support badly. He’s just a bit petty/pouty at times.


Vettle is right, we all have a right to call someone out for what we perceive as unfair. Sure the press is going to try and make a story out of it, mostly likely because too many of them can’t write a decent story out of what was a pretty good race.


Year 4 and Max apologists are still at it. I think people keep forgetting Max is a veteran and focus too much on his age. It doesn’t take much to see which drivers are hot heads. How many years in F1 before we demand more of Max other hail marry attacks. This isn’t a video game, there is no reset.


The clip where Hamilton calls Vettel a dickhead.
Vettel’s look to the camera is classic :-)