Proceedings kicked off on Thursday for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and it seems the one question on many reporters’ lips is whether or not Verstappen and Hamilton have hashed it out?
When asked if he had a response to the Red Bull driver’s comments, Hamilton said he was not aware that Max was in the hospital at the time, but that he would do the same thing again, and that he doesn’t believe their celebrations were disrespectful.
“I did give Max a call just to check if he’s OK and let him know the respect is still there. Obviously, he’s perhaps not reciprocated, but that’s OK”, he said.
“As I said in the last race I really was not aware. I was not made aware; I saw on the screen that he had got out of the car and looked OK and then I was told he was fine.
“So I was not aware until the media conference afterwards that he visited the hospital.
“In terms of the move, I would do it exactly the way… I did it last [time]. In terms of how I’ve reviewed it and analysed from all my experience, and my experience obviously with over the years speaks for a lot, I wouldn’t change it,” he added.
The world champion then said his celebrations were before he was made aware of Verstappen’s condition and that it was still a monumental moment for the team.
“I mean I don’t believe our behaviour was disrespectful,” continued the Mercedes driver, “but as I said it’s one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened and there’s one thing not knowing and celebrating. As I said, I wasn’t aware.
“But it’s my home Grand Prix. And we worked incredibly hard for god knows how long to get a result like that, and what a monumental moment it was for us to experience the whole home crowd being there for the first time [since 2019].
“It wasn’t like an intentional celebration; it was just the joy of seeing so many people and so many people celebrating, being together, that’s the national emotion. I’m not going to hide my emotions. And it was an amazing feeling to see so many people,” he concluded.
Max Verstappen on the other hand was thrown many questions about his view on what happened, and how he’s feeling now – having had a week to mull over the incident.
“I’m good. Of course the first few days after the race, you feel quite sore, but since then, it’s just getting better and better. So I’m just ready to go… [I’ve been training] harder than ever,” Verstappen said.
“You anyway can’t change the outcome. I’m not happy with what happened there. Especially to lose that many points due to someone else, but it’s what it is.”
He said that Hamilton rang him after the race, but that he would not divulge what was said on that call, but he sticks by his view of things;
“When one guy’s in the hospital and the other one is waving the flag around like nothing has happened, well, you’ve pushed the guy into the wall with 51G. And not only that but just the whole reaction of the [Mercedes] team, besides that. That’s not how you celebrate a win, especially a win how they got it.
“That’s what I found really disrespectful, and in a way it shows how they really are. It comes out after a pressured situation. But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.
“But I would also be upset at myself with a move like that if it was the other way around. And I would definitely not be celebrating like that.
“I don’t think the penalty was correct, because basically, you take out your main rival, and especially with the speed we have in our cars, we’re miles ahead of, let’s say, the third-best team.
“We are easily 40-50 seconds ahead in normal conditions, so a 10-second penalty doesn’t do anything. So definitely that penalty should have been more severe.
“I don’t think so, because from my side, I didn’t do anything wrong. I fought hard, I defended hard, but not aggressive because if it would have been aggressive, I could have squeezed him into the inside wall, but I did give him the space.
“Then I just opened up my corner and when you then commit on the inside like he did and not back out, expecting you can do the same speed on that angle that I had on the outside, you are going to, of course, crash into me.
“But of course, I’m on the outside, I’m opening up my corner, not expecting him to commit and he understeered into the rear of my car.
“There’s not much I can do, I think.”