Start, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Hamilton on Verstappen clash: “Some drivers are smarter” than others

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton said his latest run-in with Max Verstappen showed the Red Bull driver has to be handled differently in combat than some of his rivals.

The pair tangled at turn two on the first lap of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Asked in the FIA press conference whether Verstappen has to be treated differently to other drivers Hamilton said: “Yep.”

“I think every driver is slightly different,” he explained. “Some are smarter. Some are very smart, aggressive and some are silly with it.

“Through those experiences of racing with people you give some more space. And others you don’t have to, they’re quite respectful.

“But Max, it’s very likely you’re going to come together with Max if you don’t give him extra space. So most of the time you do.”

However Hamilton said he had little room to avoid the collision between them in today’s race. “In my experience, I didn’t have a lot of space to give him extra space.

“I don’t think it was intentional or anything like that it was just… it’s a magnet for those kind of things. But nonetheless I managed to keep the car together in a straight line, fortunately.”

Sebastian Vettel, who finished second, said he had the same view on Verstappen’s driving as Hamilton. “Copy and paste,” he commented.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

90 comments on “Hamilton on Verstappen clash: “Some drivers are smarter” than others”

  1. Bravo!

    Almost 10 World champions can’t be mistaken all at once ;)

    1. It is rare that I can agree with Lewis and Sebastian at once. This is just that rare occasion. Max has a talent, but he has a lot to learn and at the moment it seems that Max is not willing to learn.

  2. NeverElectric
    27th October 2019, 22:20

    Lol. Oops. Max doesn’t do himself too many favours with his comments on his pen driving though.
    Albon joined RBR quite late but his calm driving means he’ll be scoring points where Max loses out to his own excess aggression…and Who knows what Helmut Marko might think in a few races’ time?

    1. Albon is doing a reasonable Ricciardo impersonation, picking up more points when Max goes off on one.
      However. Max on a good day should have kept poll and converted the win. Or even started 4th and won. Hamilton tells the story exactly as it is. Max demands ‘space’, meaning, like today, he tends to push opponents as wide as he can when passing. It’s his ‘signature statement.’ Usually Hamilton allows for that as he prefers the chances of not picking up damage and maybe losing a place. But today he had little choice but to stay on line and Max ended up worse off. Other drivers – like Bottas – will just decide not to give him the space he’s demanding, and again he can come off worse. This season’s main point of interest, in fact, is how the repercussions of Verstappen’s aggressive (and legitimate) pass on Leclerc have unfolded – with Leclerc also becoming more aggressive, and Hamilton himself promising to respond in kind with ‘hard racing.’ Which today he did. With Verstappen. Ironically.

      1. But Max was not him self this day i notice at turn 1 he was causious normal he would outbrake and moved more to the left before the corner. Now he stayed on the right side giving Lewis the room to get next to him.

        1. Indeed. Max gave Lewis too much room, unlike Seb. And got a stab or two at the press conference for thanks.

        2. Max was more Max than anyone

  3. GtisBetter (@)
    27th October 2019, 22:29

    Typical lap 1 incident I think. Let’s all move on.

    1. Later he made contact with Bottas and a Haas. He also passed the Haas off the track. People can move on but its Max who lost out on a win today. Big opportunity lost.

      1. on dutch tv it was pointed out that bottas did see max and gave him space, though as max passed by bottas wanted to return to his racing line and did this a bit to early resulting in a puncture for max.

        though i agree with all you guys here, he had pole and could win the race and was way too much involved in situations you dont want to and need to be in if you want to race, quite immature racing.. he needs to go back to his form pre summer stop!

      2. BOT made contact with VER

      3. Bottas made contact with Verstappen…he steered in while Verstappen was near fully in front….. the rear wheels don;t steer… it was Bottas that made the fault, not Max

  4. Was a nice little scrap, I thought. Neither backed down and neither broke the rules, with the fairly predictable outcome of both being compromised a little (lucky neither got severe damage, though).

    1. Agreed

      Lewis’ comment re Max:
      -if based on today alone = harsh
      -if speaking in general = fair enough

  5. Max crossed the line yesterday when he acknowledge that he doesn’t slow for yellow flags unless he decides if there really should be a yellow flag. It is insane for a driver to have this thought at any level of any kind of racing and this is F1. Take his license away before he hurts someone.

    1. he acknowledge that he doesn’t slow for yellow flags unless he decides if there really should be a yellow flag

      He really said that? whoa he definately needs to be sat down and have explained to him why the rules are in place and why he needs to respect them.

      1. @johnrkh

        Apparently so. And I too think that any driver who says something that daft ought to be instantly suspended pending a very serious discussion about what they’ve said.

        1. Mario Innocenti
          28th October 2019, 20:55

          That’s not what he said. He admitted that he saw Bottas crashed and didn’t slow down. Apparently he missed the yellow flag. At the time Hamilton passed a moment before, the yellow flags weren’t out yet, but he too didn’t slow down as he judged it was safe to pass the crashsite. So in a way their judgments were the same, although I do think Max hoe penalty was fair and Ham shouldn’t have been penalised.

      2. VER said in his post-race comment that he should have lifted

  6. Max is crazy fast but he is also crazy. I am afraid he is beginning to have a Maldonado-like Reputation. K Mag is another one.
    Lewis, Vet, Kimi, Charles and Ricciardo know racing Max is different than others as he doesn’t shy away from making contact. He has to learn this important skill to be a clean racer.

    1. Maldonado crashed because he wasn’t really in control of his car, often on his own. Verstappen crassesh because he just bad at wheel-to-wheel fighting. Way to aggressive and inconsidirate.

      Two multiple DWC’s say they have to give VER more space than others, or he will crash into them… It doesn’t get more painful than that, does it?

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        28th October 2019, 17:12

        @jeffreyj Maldonado was in control just fine. He simply took to much risks. Just like Verstappen. Verstappen can be slightly more sensible though.

  7. “But Max, it’s very likely you’re going to come together with Max if you don’t give him extra space. So most of the time you do.”

    Hamilton is correct, Verstappen has built himself a reputation based on fear of a collision not respect of his skill. Verstappen is definitely a very fast driver with the potential to win a WDC. But he still has that red mist issue that blinds him of logical though, which is a major drawback if he wants to win a WDC.
    With Hamilton saying those things publicly and Vettel supporting him it’s clear Verstappen has yet to gain the respect of the other drivers and is unlikely to get any the way he is going.

    1. Max will never be world champion.He is just to flakey under pressure.

  8. Very well stated. Max is more suited for American Drag Racing. Stomp on the gas and go fast for a 1/4 mile with a wall between you and your competitor.

    1. @jimfromus
      I don’t know about 1/4 mile dragsters. But NASCAR might be Verstappen’s true calling.

      1. Max wouldn’t make a good living being put into the wall every other race. I am sure Lewis would gladly put him there if his car had fenders.

    2. No wall in NHRA. He would have the same problem there.

  9. Verstappen did benefit for too long of his “nothing to lose” approach to win some races with no resistance at all, like Malaysia 2017.
    Now there is Leclerc there as hungry as he is, and the old timers are not having it anymore.

    His second half of the season has been an utter disaster. It looked like he was ready to race for the WDC, but he let us down again.

  10. I like Max, probably more and more, and definitely more than his early years, but today he had some harsh dives, and many overtook guys had to be partner a bit, cuz he approached like a king.
    Although very nice driving, and one of the best tyre management in the season done by him at this race.
    Ricciardo almost pulled off something like this at Spa, switch to hard compound after first laps incident and almost complete the race with nice result. Although Ricc’s tyres sadly died in last laps. The difference is maybe in the quality of RB vs Renault car.
    Anyway this years hard compound seems to be very durable, which is still better than the prev years where we seen soft compounds binned in 5-7 race laps often.
    But considering this i’m a bit disappointed, because noone tired to pull off a medium-medium-soft, or hard-soft strategy.
    For example i expected Verstappen to get a soft at the end, but looking at the gaps, and the RB’s legendary tyre management, i realized they maybe doing this on that hard compuond.
    Also I’m similarly sad for Leclerc as he recieved a medium instead of a soft for the last stint. It’s interesting, that he
    not managed to do a bit longer second stint of this three to do that. As hard compounds are very durable, i guess all outher compounds gone towards durability too this year, but teams not really favourize softs this year for a while now.
    Maybe they would be ok, but heating them is not easy, and multiple piptsop strategies are not as viable as they been in the Schumacher era, so they are just using the now quite good hard compounds.
    So at the end i was just a bit sad to realize that almost everyone at the front is managing his position just too well to things happen. But still it was a good race.

    1. I have often thought about how multiple pit stops worked in the past but do not work as much now. One reason could be that the fueling of cars is no longer allowed during the race .. the lack of varied fuel loads really has reduced the tactical permutations available to teams.

      1. Thats a quite good reason, as the difference is measured in tens of kilograms compared to refueling allowed on average, and even more at the first part of the race. Eric Boullier said 10 kg is at about 0.3s / lap, but depends on track. And the initial full tank puts much more strain on the tyres. And of course F1 is very much about managing performance reserves, at the second half of the season Hamilton is quite often forced to push it, and often he just does a 0.5 – 1 seconds better than the current best lap, even right after outlap (it was a rare sight at previous seasons), this tells a lot about Mercedes’ tyre management, and the durability of current compounds.

  11. Gustavo Meyer
    27th October 2019, 23:24

    Isn’t Verstappen a new age Mansell? Super talented and ready to throw championships away?

  12. It seems like old Verstappen is back and the new one we saw in 1st half of season is gone.

    1. At least he makes racing more fun. All is keyboard Warriors that know it all better need something to talk about….it would have bee a seriously boring race without him to spice it up.

  13. I am normally more tolerant of Verstappen’s “adventures”, but this weekend he really has nobody to blame but himself. Qualifying especially was just pure stupidity. The moment Bottas hit those barriers, Verstappen was 100% guaranteed to be on pole, there was no way for those yellow flags to end before the session. The only reason for him to finish that lap was his ego.

    And that lunge on Bottas in the race was straight out of Codemasters’ F1 multiplayer…

    1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      28th October 2019, 2:39

      I would’ve been quite chuffed if I made that move playing PS4…

    2. Yeah qualifying was a shocker. Moment of madness from the dutchman.

      His race had several reckless moments too – I really like Verstappen and think he’s capable of reaching the top of the sport but how many times is he going to shoot himself in the foot?

      Jos? Christian? Anyone? Someone, please tell Max to do himself a favour and stop damaging his own chances time and time again.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      28th October 2019, 17:14

      @aesto I agree with you mostly, but when you say that Verstappen was guaranteed the pole after Bottas crashed, we have seen Rosberg take pole in situations like that. Everybody backed off and he simply blasted through. Lifted the throttle for braking into the corner and claimed his “slowing down” done.

  14. Because Verstappen has earned himself a bit of a reputation, I think the other drivers overcompensate a bit and race him a bit harder than they might otherwise. They know he’ll be aggressive, so in order to not get pushed around, they do the same. That’s how touches, punctures and accidents happen. Live by the sword, die by the sword. His problems started on Saturday when he decided not to lift for the yellow. And he can’t make mistakes like that if he wants to challenge for a championship across an entire season.

    1. Even with the yellow flag stupidity, he would have had an easy podium with his pace and tyre life.

      But he through it all away by not thinking. Which is the difference between a great driver, and a driving great.

  15. What a cry babies. F1 is turned into a gentlemans sport. Only overtake at the straights or by undercuts, everything else is too dangerous. They all knew that Ves was the fastest on this circuit. Still Ham choose too fight Ves. With Ves on pole they, Ferrari and Mercedes, wouldn’t stand a chance so this was their opportunity to win. I can understand Ves, he was the fastest on the track and wanted to go forward as soon as possible. This was not respected by Ham so they had a close encounter. Not that smart from Ham, it could have taken him out.

    1. @pietkoster I’m sorry but you are contradicting yourself. You say that Hamilton chose to fight Verstappen, because he didn’t respected the situation that Verstappen was fastest and wanted to go forward as fast as possible. You also say that the others had a chance to win, because Verstappen was not on pole. So there you have it, why did Hamilton defend his position? Because it was his best chance to win this race. And guess what, he did win the race. So you tell me who is not smart, Hamilton or Verstappen?

      1. You cannot compare the outcome of the race and the incident. Ham was lucky, his car was damaged. Ves unlucky got a flat tyre later. Before that Bottas blocked him for a while. Ves has only one goal, to win races. He doesn’t care about reputations. Because the RB is getting better the fights get tighter. I like his style, looks like Marquez in MotoGP.

        1. @pietkoster I agree that Verstappen has one goal, to win races. You say you like that style and I can relate. But at the same time you ‘condemn’ Hamilton and Bottas for doing exactly the same, trying to win races by keeping Verstappen behind. Sounds like a double standard.

          1. I don’t condemn them but I don’t think it was smart from Ham (maybe Bot too) for taking up the challege in this particular race and that situation.

          2. @pietkoster but it was smart to fight in this situation, it was his best chance to put himself in a position to win the race. Just because someone has the fastest package on a weekend doesn’t mean you should avoid racing them, if that was the case what would we be watching?

        2. That’s all he has his mind set on, Win One Race. That Race at all costs. Not winning a championship, Not slowing down for Yellow Flags.

          Even if he had the fastest Car, he does not have the mentality to win a championship.

          1. He doesn’t have to be a champion.He must make me want to watch F1. Last race all I saw was a few incidents in the first laps. After that it was just driving a train. Nobody in the first five positions tried anything, boring stuff. So I watched Ves charging to the field on a set of tyres that anybody else would have changed. That was interesting. Up front nothing really happened. Tell me if I am wrong.

    2. Not sure what race you watched but Verstappen was all over the place in Mexico. There’s aggressive racing and then there’s uncontrolled and borderline reckless.

      Verstappen is obviously quick but anyone who’s watched him for a long enough period knows he struggles to find the line that separates aggressive driving and reckless driving that damages his team’s chances, not to mention his own.

      Although, I think everyone would agree that once he irons out these issues, he’s going to be challenging for WDCs.

      1. Mario Innocenti
        28th October 2019, 20:48

        Way too harsh! If you descibe Max his actions in Mexico ‘uncontrolled and borderline reckless’ then I wonder how you would label Vettel (Silverstone?), Leclerc (Monaco? Suzuka?) or Bottas (Hungary?)

  16. Verstappen hasn’t changed since 2018. Early 2018 most of his ‘move or we crash’-overtakes ended in tears, but later that year the same style brought him podiums and victories. So it seemed that he calmed down, but he didn’t. Now after more than a year of highs, it was bound to go wrong. It’s statistics. If you race with your elbows that far out, the chances of crashing or picking up damage is higher. With this attitude, your highs are higher and your lows are lower. It’s a good thing that he was the only one to suffer from his actions this time around.

    1. @matthijs You’re right that his risky gambles will lead to mixed results (“its statistics”). But Max is also playing against a basic social contract: be fair to me, I’ll be fair to you. People tend to remember such breeches and will often go out for revenge (the start of a feud). I think all sports are a gentleman’s game because of this social aspect.

      1. @fiamd
        “Some are smarter. Some are very smart, aggressive and some are silly with it.”
        “But Max, it’s very likely you’re going to come together with Max if you don’t give him extra space. So most of the time you do.”

        These both quotes do explain what a gentleman agreement is, and what isnt.
        When Max is ahead, he leaves you no room, moves all over the place, you try to overtake, you are sure to make contact with him, he will open his mouth and blames you if he is taken out, if he leads stills, he will go on radio and make insulting comments jokingly, respects noone, win at all costs!

        When max is behind, he expects you to give him room, and if you dont, he will make contact with you, and will go on the radio and blame you, regardless of if he comes better or worse, because he doesnt care about long games, as he is more interested in hit and runs to get the odd wins… This is his big mistake and hence continuing on this path will never make him a champion.

      2. @fiamd @mysticus You are both right. I cheer for Max because he is a thrill to watch and we share the same nationality but I’m having more and more difficulties with his attitude. Or should I say his personality. At first I felt that the accidents he was involved in were just the result of taking risks, but now I feel he has a lack of respect for others. Lack of respect for the other drivers on the track, but also lack of respect for the marshalls and lack of respect for the rules (the yellow flag). I’m no phsych but I feel he has some narcissistic disorder: he puts himself above others and above the rules.

  17. Hamilton and Vettel have made loads of mistakes before. Max is learning all the time, people forget how young he actually is. Hamilton had barely had his first race at the age Max is now.

    And er didn’t Max get driver of the day!

    1. I think number years spent in F1 has a greater weight than the actual age of a driver; and Max has been in F1 for a number of years. He is 4 races away from his 6th season in F1; how much longer does he need to learn the basics?

      1. Leclerc should be younger or at about the same age, but has a fast but measured approach to F1 racing which has put Verstappen under some kind of pressure.

        1. Mario Innocenti
          28th October 2019, 20:27

          Rubbish! Max only has made three errors this season that costed him his race: Spa, Monza and Mexico. All three incidents were mere situations in which Max’ actions could be considered a tad overeager and clumsy, but never truly reckless (except for the qualy of Mexico maybe). Don’t forget that Vettel (Silverstone) and Leclerc (Suzuka) ended Verstappen’s races without him carrying any blame.

          Now let’s consider Leclerc this season: from the back of my head I recall major errors in Monaco, Suzuka, Hockenheim and Baku (qualy).

    2. Giving any weight to the driver of the poll is laughable, to many agendas, bias towards favorite driver. Unscientific data.

      1. @keithcollantine would you be able to do some research to see if driver of the day voted by the public deserve it or not? Do they align with the results on here?

  18. A bit rich from Vettel who first did a Singapore 2017 squeeze on Hamilton and later hitting Leclerc on the right rear. That could have ended in tears. Verstappen was very unlucky the Bottas tap ended in a slow puncture, having to complete a full lap at snails pace.

    In the end, he was 54s behind on lap 6 and 68s on lap 71. Only losing 14s on the race winner while having run almost the whole race on one set of tires and overtaking the midfield. It shows he could have won if he is a bit more lucky. It seems every minor hit breaks his car (Spa, Monza, Japan) while Albon could barge Norris off track almost without a scratch in Japan.

    1. Statistically, it is the number of hits that Max is giving and taking with his cars….the numbers are too high in every race and therefore punctures and other damages happen more frequently. So luck has very little to do with Max’s results. For example, Albon has not been in nearly as many incidents in his entire F1 career as Max just did in 1 weekend.

      We are in an era where there is a cap on spending, Engine parts, gear boxes, etc. Max ( + those around him and a few of his fans ) seem to think that he is racing under different rules in a different era. He might hurt himself in one of these incidents or worse still hurt another driver on the grid.

      1. Mario Innocenti
        28th October 2019, 20:37

        Here’s a link to the World destructor championship to prove your wrong:

        1. Mario, the data in that link is measuring costs to the team of a driver’s accident in ‘iffy’ terms and up till the Singapore GP. This sheet has to be questioned – All Honda and Renault powered cars are already well over their part limit.

  19. Destian Light
    28th October 2019, 11:33

    If Redbull can improve their car or Honda thier Engine like by 5% Max will win 95% of the time.

  20. Good. I’m glad Lewis taught the petulant child prodigy some manners on and off track yesterday. He’s been running his mouth far too much recently.

    1. Yes LH has.

      1. @robbie oh sorry I wasn’t aware Lewis talked himself off the front row off the grid, my bad. LOL

        1. It would seem Max didn’t either.

          1. @robbie yes because Michael Masi is a paradigm of honesty when it comes to justifying his WWE-esque attitude to penalties to benefit the show isn’t he.

            He definitely did.

  21. Did Red Bull actually make the wrong choice by keeping Max Versteppan and losing Daniel Ricciardo? Yes Max has incredible pace and racecraft and is a stunning talent. But as Murray Walker used to say, to finish first, first you have to finish. Where would Ricciardo be in the same car? Would he be finishing more races and looking like a more consistent and reliable championship contender? I guess we will never know, but there are times, such as after this weekend, when I think so.

  22. Few years ago, when Max was fighting mid-field battles mostly, he was among those people who were overcautious, who were keen to grab few points with no trouble etc. but now Max fighting among those who really mind giving up every point in the championship race, and clearly Max is not doing himself a favor with his stupid antics, he lost more points this season because of his stubbornness than ever.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      28th October 2019, 17:19

      You must be confused about another Max. The Max Verstappen we are talking about here has always been up for discussion on his overly aggressive defending and attacking.

  23. Whew i just counted, Albon outscored Verstappen by 15 points after they become teammates. Maybe Max must take a long breath and think

  24. Max is destroying his reputation but Hamilton is a hypocrite! He was upshifting in the corner when Bottas had crashed…and the VER turn 1 incident was not clear-cut VER fault. Not a fan of how he is using his influence to destroy someones reputation!

    1. Agree.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      28th October 2019, 17:21

      You missed the fact that Hamilton didn’t have yellow flags. He was right behind Bottas.

      The waved double yellow means that marshalls are going to be walking around on track and it’s a serious offense to keep speeding while those are shown.

      1. Claiming he backed off/hesitated when he did not. You can clearly see him upshifting in the onboard. Then the turn 1 incident was his own fault. He was lucky not to Torpedo Into VER. Just listen to the Motorsport podcast…excellent analysis!

        1. zzzzzzzzz Hamilton dint even improve his lap unlike Ves

        2. F1oSaurus (@)
          29th October 2019, 19:08

          This is about Verstappen crashing into Hamilton after turn 1. What does this have to do with Hamilton not needing to lift in Q3?

          Just look at the F1 on-board replays. They give and ercellent view of how Verstappen was really to blame mostly in all of his incidents.

  25. And all the while Verstappen will say with smug disregard that he doesn’t care…ahhh the arrogance of youth!

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      28th October 2019, 17:22

      @wilfredp Heh. It’s cute he keeps pretending he doesn’t care and then at some point he said he would punch people in the face.

      1. @f1osaurus

        he crashed with inside car ocon, he blamed ocon -brazil
        he crashed with outside car lec, he blamed lec -aus
        he crashed with inside car seb, he blamed seb -jap
        he crashed with inside car seb, he blamed seb -mex 17 (carbon copy of mex 19 with max in lew’s shoes)
        he crashed with outside car kimi, he blamed kimi ??
        countless more if you dig… and blameless every single one of them :)

        here are some videos of him racing like a gentleman…
        not to mention 16 mexico, not giving up place to max despite even being told by his own team…
        having racing spirit, and racing stupid sounds like in rhyme, but totaly different meaning…

        1. *”not giving up place to max ” >> “max not giving up place to vet”

        2. F1oSaurus (@)
          1st November 2019, 20:00

          @mysticus Not sure why you rplied all this to me, but I really like the overview. Indeed those 2016 incidents were really bad. Especially Spa could have been such a horrific crash. I’m still shocked that they let him get away with those.

          Although it’s also true that drivers will always blame the other. I mean Vettel was even cursing at Verstappen when he simply drove into the back of him at Silverstone. Or Kvyat cursing at Hulkenberg in Mexico. Kvyat also ran into the back of him.

  26. There is a fundamental lesson that sMax (and I will continue to call him that until he learns) has yet to understand.

    You CANNOT expect others to look out for your best interests.

    Think about the coming together with Ocon last year or Kimi at Spa this year. sMax, you cannot expect others to get out of your way just because it’s you. You put yourself in harm’s way for no point and stuff happens. Personally, I fault Dr. Marko, Horner and daddy for blowing in the kid’s ear and saying how wonderful he is. However, the truth is that the greats would never have lost pole position as he did. Stupid…

Comments are closed.