Max Verstappen believes the way the Mercedes team celebrated Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the British Grand Prix “shows how they really are,” while acknowledging that he had taken a call from his title rival after their collision.
Hamilton said after winning at Silverstone that he would drop Verstappen a message upon learning the Red Bull driver had been hospitalized as a result of their clash on the opening lap. Verstappen had posted on social media that he felt the celebrations after the race were disrespectful and on Thursday in Hungary added his belief it was a reflection of how Mercedes acts.
“Yeah, he did call me,” Verstappen said. “I don’t need to go into details about that but we did have a chat. To me disrespectful is when one guy is in hospital and the other one is waving the flag around like nothing has happened when you pushed a guy into the wall with 51G.
“And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team besides that. I think that’s not how you celebrate a win, especially a win how they got it. That’s what I found really disrespectful. Anyway it shows how they really are. It comes out after a pressured situation, but I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”
Verstappen says he will not change the way he races Hamilton because he felt the Briton was fully at fault for their collision.
“I don’t think so (that his approach will change), 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 and then I just opened up my corner.
“When you then commit on the inside like he did and not back out expecting that you can do the same speed on that angle that I had on the outside, you are going to of course crash into me. I’m on the outside, I’m opening up my corner not expecting him to commit and he just understeered into the rear of my car. There’s not much I can do, I think.
“Of course people easily say I’m an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am. I’m a hard driver, I race hard, but at the end of the day I think I know quite well how I have to position my car and I haven’t been involved in accidents where I run into people. I have zero penalty points as well, so I think that already says quite a bit. Of course always people have different opinions but from my side that’s how I see it.”
However, Verstappen said he disagreed with the accusation by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner that Hamilton had been “dirty” with his driving.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard it like that,” he said of the accusation of dirty driving. “No, I just think he misjudged the moment in that corner and the rest I won’t comment on. We just have to focus ahead and try to have a good weekend here.”