Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

Lewis Hamilton in new dig at Formula One rival Max Verstappen: give him room or risk being torpedoed

One day after accusing the Dutchman of careless driving at Mexico GP, British reigning champion takes another swing at Red Bull driver

Lewis Hamilton could seal his sixth Formula One world championship in the US next weekend. Getty 
Lewis Hamilton could seal his sixth Formula One world championship in the US next weekend. Getty 

Lewis Hamilton has taken another swing at Max Verstappen by claiming he gives the Red Bull driver extra room for fear of being "torpedoed".

Twenty-four hours after he accused the Dutchman of careless driving having failed to slow down following Valtteri Bottas' qualifying crash, Hamilton turned his attention to Verstappen's driving.

Hamilton and Verstappen came within inches of a collision at the second corner of Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, with both drivers taking to the grass. Moments later, Verstappen suffered a puncture following a collision with Bottas.

"I thought at some stage I would get torpedoed by Max," said Hamilton as he explained the frenetic start to Sunday's race.

"I braked into Turn One, and all of a sudden Max is alongside me. If you have seen my previous races, I always leave Max a lot of space because it is the smartest thing you can do.

"Every driver is slightly different. Some are very smart and aggressive, and some are silly with it. So, through those experiences, you give some more space, and with others you don't have to because they are quite respectful.

"But with Max it is very likely you are going to come together with him if you don't give him the extra space. I don't think it was intentional what happened on the first lap, but he's a magnet for those kind of things."

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was in agreement with Hamilton's comments, saying: "Copy and paste. It is true."

Hamilton's surprise victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez means he needs to finish only eighth in Texas on Sunday to be crowned world champion for a sixth time.

The Briton left Mexico's capital city for New York ahead of two promotional events at NASDAQ's headquarters in Times Square with his team boss Toto Wolff on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hamilton is due to arrive in Austin on Thursday.

Red Bul's Max Verstappen, left, alongside Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes during Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix. Getty
Red Bul's Max Verstappen, left, alongside Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes during Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix. Getty

Hamilton clinched his third title there in 2015, and has become a well-known figure in the United States.

"It is obviously an exciting market for me," said the 34-year-old. "The most important one for me is England, and I am constantly trying to grow my fanbase in the UK, and the British Grand Prix is obviously spectacular.

"But I have done a few shows in the US and I am definitely becoming more and more known in the States. It is a diverse country, and my family's story is one that a lot of people can relate to there.

"The track in Austin is a good hunting ground for me so I am very excited to go there, and who knows whether we can get the job done, but hopefully we will have a good race."

Updated: October 28, 2019 08:16 PM

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