“I think he feels, perhaps, he has a lot to prove.”Lewis Hamilton’s assessment of Max Verstappen – the latest rival to offer a legitimate challenge to him for the world drivers’ championship – pricked up plenty of ears across the paddock as Formula 1 prepared for its first Monaco Grand Prix in two years.
The opening salvos between the pair in the 2021 F1 season certainly showed that Hamilton had little need to prove his prowess to Verstappen. Not just through the three wins from four races, but in the nature in which he’d claimed them.
Beating a faster Verstappen in Bahrain, passing him in Portugal and then hunting down the defenceless Red Bull in Spain to stamp his authority on the early phase of what may well prove a season-long duel between arguably the two greatest talents of their generations.
Verstappen had prevailed in Imola after offering no quarter to his rival at the start. But despite the early advantage for the seven-time world champion, Verstappen had comfortably held ground with him every step of the way, finishing no lower than second every time.
What further need would Verstappen have to show he is not just a viable threat to Hamilton’s crown, but a truly dangerous one at that?
But with all eyes on the two championship protagonists heading into the most important qualifying session of the year, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari decided it was finally time instead for them to reintroduce themselves to the watching world.
A stunning performance saw the hometown hero and the Scuderia well and truly crash the party at the front of the field – before a crash of a different kind threatened to kick them right back out of it.
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What the grid for the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix might have been were it not for Leclerc’s final minute Swimming Pool shunt is purely academic, but it meant that the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen would be the widest of the season so far – Verstappen on the front row, Hamilton only seventh.
“Saturday is the day,” a disappointed Hamilton admitted. “So obviously that really does put the win out of reach.”
But for the first time in over 20 races, that win was now within reach of Ferrari and Leclerc. Having secured the most prestigious pole on the calendar, Leclerc went to sleep on Saturday night in his home anticipating that he would realise the fantasy he would’ve played out hundreds of times in his mind growing up – winning his home grand prix for Ferrari.
“I couldn’t put it out of my mind,” he said. “It was difficult last night to sleep well, obviously I had that in my mind I was quite scared about the gearbox. But we had the good news this morning that it’s all fine and I’m happy.”
But the time the clocks rolled to 3pm, Leclerc would have wished he’d stayed in bed. On his first lap back in his repaired SF21 Leclerc immediately realised all was not well with his car.
“No… no… the gearbox, guys…”
What was later diagnosed to be a driveshaft problem – revealed to have been overlooked in Ferrari’s damage assessments – had broken hearts from Monte Carlo to Marenello and far beyond them both.
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“In the garage it was very, very difficult to feel okay,” admitted a dejected Leclerc. “But I guess now I’m getting used to this feeling here, unfortunately. I’ve never finished a race here. This year I don’t get to start it from pole so it’s a difficult one to take.”
Tragedy for Leclerc had become a tantalising opportunity for Verstappen and Red Bull. Having inherited the prime grid slot and with Hamilton so far back, it would be nothing less than an abject failure not to convert this chance to strike an early blow against Mercedes and render all those previous defeats obsolete.
With the sprint to Sainte Devote likely to determine the destination of the 25 points for that afternoon, Verstappen lined up his RB16B as far forward in his grid slot as he did. His front wheel was beyond the yellow guidance line but, crucially, short of the white line and therefore legally positioned. Those few centimetres could have proved the difference when the lights went out as Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas raced side-by-side down to the first corner, the Red Bull prevailing to pull up the hill for the first time with the lead.
While Hamilton could not find a way by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly ahead of him, Antonio Giovinazzi threw caution to the wind and dived past Esteban Ocon’s ninth-placed Alpine around the outside of Mirabeau, showing no appetite for caution despite reaching Q3 for the first time this season.
All 19 starters had successfully negotiated the first racing lap of Monte Carlo for two years without significant incident. With the vast majority of the field on the soft tyres for their first stint, the predictable pattern of gaps between participants quickly began to emerge.
Verstappen pulled a handful of seconds on Bottas, content to control the pace out front rather than press to disappear off into the distance. Lando Norris was running well in fourth, but after going outside the track limits one too many times, he received a very early black-and-white flag warning on lap 19 – putting the McLaren driver under severe pressure not to repeat the error for the remaining 60 laps.
Hamilton, as he had expected, could not find any way to get close to Gasly, even with the theoretical raw pace advantage of his Mercedes. The team planned to keep Hamilton out until after Gasly made the switch to the hard tyres, hoping to unleash Hamilton’s full pace potential with clear air. However, Mercedes’ strategy was scuppered when their tyres refused to cooperate.
Bottas began to struggle, dropping back from the leader. When Hamilton’s lap times began showing similar signs of slipping, Mercedes called the championship leader into the pits on lap 30.
“On Valtteri’s car we were finished with the tyres and on Lewis’ car when we analysed the tyres after the stop, there wasn’t anything left either,” later explained Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff.
AlphaTauri wasted no time in covering Mercedes’ stop, bringing Gasly in and out directly in front of Hamilton – to his disgust.
“How am I still behind him, man?,” bemoaned Hamilton over the radio. “I don’t understand, guys. I saved the tyres to go longer – you’ve made me stop before everybody.”
But that wasn’t all for Hamilton, who could only watch helplessly as Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin – which had been behind him in the opening stint – executed the very strategy that Hamilton had hoped to perform and emerged ahead of both he and Gasly, resulting in a dramatic side-by-side sprint with the AlphaTauri up the hill to Massenet, with Vettel ultimately emerging ahead, picking up two positions.
“What has just happened, guys?,” a baffled Hamilton vented. “I’ve just lost two places.”
If he expected race engineer Peter Bonnington to offer reassurance in reply, he was sorely mistaken.
“And Lewis, we’re under threat of losing position to Perez as well – I’m sorry about that.”
“I’ve lost position to Perez?”, Hamilton’s incredulity now bordering on anger.
But Hamilton’s frustration was only mirroring that of his Mercedes team, who were seeing their weekend rapidly unravelling. Bottas had been called in for fresh rubber, but another calamitous pit stop for the team the right-front wheel nut stripped of its teeth, rendering it immovable and preventing the team from fitting the final new wheel onto his car.
Bottas was forced out the race in one of the most agonising fashions for any driver to have their race ended and a chance of competing for a Monaco win taken away. Now, with only Hamilton left in seventh, it became a matter of damage limitation for the Brackley-based team.
Having watched on as their rival’s race fell to pieces, Red Bull and Verstappen had completed their single stop for the afternoon with a distinct lack of drama and were staring gratefully at the open goal that Mercedes had presented them.
Bottas’s cruel misfortune promoted Carlos Sainz Jnr to second place, Lando Norris now third in the uniquely Gulf-liveried McLaren.
But the Gulf branding could also act as a nominative metaphor for the chasm in performance between Norris and McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was never on the pace all weekend as he struggled to overcome his discomfort with the handling nuances of his McLaren around the Monaco streets.
Eventually, on lap 53, Norris was far enough ahead of his 12th-placed team mate to put a lap on him. With a multi-year contract extension announced earlier in the week, Norris was yet again demonstrating why Andreas Seidl and Zak Brown were so keen to keep the 21-year-old in their stable for the foreseeable future.
Hamilton was deliberately keeping space to Gasly ahead, feeling that it was pointless to run directly under the rear wing of the AlphaTauri and eat into his tyres if there was no reasonable opportunity for him to pass.
Eventually, when Lance Stroll finally pitted after a long opening stint on hard tyres, Hamilton and Mercedes chose to make the most of the gap behind them and bring him in for soft tyres for a run at the fastest lap of the race and the bonus point it offered.
Hamilton succeeded in his endeavour, taking the fastest lap and helping to further limit the points swing from what looked like an inevitable Verstappen win, albeit in the smallest way possible. That was little concern to Red Bull, who were on course to take not just a strong Monaco Grand Prix victory, but the lead in both championships.
With no Safety Car periods and hardly any yellow flags of any description, the pace of the race had been historically fast, but Verstappen had been in full control over the 78 laps.
As Verstappen slid his car deftly around Anthony Noghes for the final time and powered down the famous pit straight to claim his first Monaco triumph, tennis great Serena Williams waved the chequered flag to signal not just a race win for Verstappen, but that they now led both world championships for the first time this season.
Advantage, Red Bull.
“It’s nice,” understated Verstappen. “I’ve never been on the podium and then the first time in, straight away a win.
“So it’s a bit of redemption for all the other races here because I never really had a lovely feeling on a Sunday here.”
Almost 10 seconds after him, Carlos Sainz Jnr crossed the line to claim second place and his first podium for Ferrari. While personally happy with the result – and rightfully so – Sainz was all too aware of how bittersweet a day it had been for his new team.
“The whole circumstances of the weekend – having Charles on pole, me missing out in qualifying yesterday on a good lap – it maybe doesn’t taste as good as it should,” Sainz conceded.
“But I’m sure when I reflect back on the weekend, I’ll be very happy and proud of the weekend. I think Ferrari, as a team, they need to be proud about the car and the step they’ve done this year.”
Norris took his second podium of the season in third – not a bad way to celebrate a unique livery for the weekend and his freshly inked contract extension.
“It’s been a cool weekend, especially here in Monaco,” reflected Norris. “It’s even more special than any other track. I’ll cherish it – I’m just hoping there’s plenty more of them and we can do that at other tracks, because I think that’s going to be the harder thing to do.”
Perez claimed fourth for Red Bull, while Sebastian Vettel secured his first points finish for his new team with a fifth place finish, making strong progress up the field in a manner reminiscent of the Vettel from years gone by.
Gasly took sixth in a much-needed positive weekend for AlphaTauri – and conscious of the good company he had been in throughout the second half of the race. “I was sandwiched in between four time world champion and seven time world champion,” he reflected, “so there are worse days…”
Hamilton’s assessment of his team’s weekend after crossing the line seventh was frank.
“We underperformed as a team all weekend from the get-go so we’ll just put our focus onto the next race,” the ex-championship leader summarised.
Stroll and Ocon claimed eighth and ninth, but it was Giovinazzi who was the most pleased to have secured his and Alfa Romeo’s first point of the season in tenth, one place ahead of team mate Kimi Raikkonen.
“The pace throughout the weekend was really good and this top-ten finish is the reward for it,” said the final point-scorer.
“On a different track, where overtaking is possible, we could have been in eighth, but we need to be happy with this result and the way the team delivered an excellent weekend.”
The Monaco Grand Prix had failed to produce a spectacular race, but it had succeeded in giving us a more intriguing championship balance than when the teams had arrived at the Principality at the beginning of the week.
Beyond the tables having turned in Verstappen and Red Bull’s favour, the resurgence of Ferrari threatens to see the stranglehold that the two title favourites hold over the top spot in the field loosen just slightly.
The frustrations of the day had exposed the temperamental side of Hamilton’s ultra-competitive persona for the first time in this young 2021 season. After his Wednesday comments about Verstappen feeling like has has a lot to prove, it had been he who had come out of the weekend insisting he could not afford another like it in this season’s title battle.
As for Verstappen, sitting pretty with the trophy in hand and the championship lead, he could afford a wry retort to his rival’s comment five days earlier:
“Actions always speak louder than words. I think that’s a good lesson after this weekend.
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2021 Monaco Grand Prix
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91 comments on ““Actions speak louder than words”: Verstappen reminds Hamilton he has little to prove in title fight”
24th May 2021, 7:24
I don’t like you but being a non-Mercedes makes you the underdog to the 2014-2020 establishment
You have the support of most fans behind you
24th May 2021, 10:11
I was a bit disappointed by that remark of Max. He doesnt have to lower himself to Lewis’ level of mind games. Especially since, opposed to Lewis, he doesnt need it. Learning point for Max here
24th May 2021, 11:13
Offcorse he needs it, this is all out war.
Lewis did little talking on the track so he needs to show some spirit for the cameras.
Do you know who does his fighting only on track? Bottas.
Meanwhile Rosberg, last man to better Lewis did all kinds of fighting everywhere and it was only just enough.
24th May 2021, 13:23
I doubt there were any mind games here. Just a kind reminder to Hamilton that his comments in the media don’t phase Verstappen at all come race day.
24th May 2021, 14:04
@aiii Lewis is a wily old fox (I mean that in a good way). He knows what he is doing. He’s rightfully trying to throw Max off his game. Generally, I quite like the fairly newfound maturity from Max, but I don’t trust him quite yet not to get too emotionally invested in a war of words. To me, that would be to Lewis’ advantage. We’ll see how it plays out but I think that the more he just overlooks comments from Lewis the better for him.
24th May 2021, 16:43
Obviously needing mind games is not a show of strength but of being very worried.
25th May 2021, 6:21
We all know the only one that really knows what he’s doing is Raikkonen.
14th June 2021, 9:32
Wait are Red Bull still the biggest noobs? I thought Ferrari and Haas were!
24th May 2021, 8:08
Is must be frustrating for Merc mgt that they have the best car still (albeit by a much finer margin than last year) but they cannot extract it yet through their drivers.
Bahrain was a one-off where Merc needed to sort some things out. But since then, Merc is on top.
Mind you , Bottas (not a Charles or Max caliber guy) put in a 1.10.6 in qualifying in Monaco. I don’t think he would have done that in a Ferrari or RB.
Carl Parker (@mysticarl)
24th May 2021, 11:10
Merc admitted they didn’t get the most from their potential at Monaco, why are you hating on everyone so much?
24th May 2021, 11:36
Overall Red Bull has had the best car so far this year.
24th May 2021, 12:58
That’s why they are on top off the WCS.
24th May 2021, 17:04
Yes they have a great livery…however in terms of pace Mercedes is proven faster.
Q3 sector times, lap times on medium, straight line pace deficit… they all lean towards Mercedes…RBR is left with braking later and tight corners
25th May 2021, 0:40
I agree with the mercedes proven faster brigade, although it’s no secret I’m very anti-mercedes I believe I’m correctly able to assess the performance in a given weekend and I would say:
Bahrain qualifying: red bull > mercedes
Bahrain race: red bull = mercedes
Imola qualifying: red bull > mercedes
Imola race: mercedes > red bull
Portugal qualifying: red bull = mercedes
Portugal race: mercedes > red bull
Spain qualifying: red bull = mercedes
Spain race: mercedes > red bull
Monaco qualifying: ferrari = red bull > mercedes
Monaco race: red bull > ferrari > mercedes
So far mercedes, aside from the monaco weekend seems to be catching up with red bull, who apart from monaco was only really even in qualifying lately, suffering a significant pace disadvantage in the race, and when you can overtake, race pace is what matters, especially with DRS.
24th May 2021, 8:15
Some searching but I found the interview where Lewis stated he had nothing to learn but the team does.
I guess for every top athlete it’s hard to loose, but do it as a team.
You win and loose as a team. Some self reflection would be nice after his error prone weekend where his teammate fought for pole.
24th May 2021, 8:38
Imagine the team expressing themselves like that when Lewis messes up.
24th May 2021, 8:56
Not really necessary to panic over Monaco. This is an atypical track. Mercedes will do fine. Lewis should know better and actually starts of the interview quite well. Then he gets mean to a team that delivered him at least 4 titles he wouldnt have gotten if not for the teams dominance. So, not very clever but understandable I guess when just talking with your sports heart. Lewis has a role to play taking this team to the next title. He should take that. We all know he can drive when the car is good, but can he also lead the team
25th May 2021, 0:46
4 titles he wouldn’t have gotten without team dominance, I guess you’re talking about the 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020, and he played a part in the 2017 and 2018, would agree with that, although vettel made his own part in 2018 with those mistakes, I think mercedes had a significant car advantage in 2017.
24th May 2021, 9:13
Wow, hadnt seen that. Weak.
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
24th May 2021, 13:26
This is pretty much never the case in F1, or any sport in general. There is always something to learn, whether you win or lose. If you have that attitude, then you will be going backwards because all your competitors will be constantly learning and finding things to improve on. From Hamilton’s point of view – he and the team seemingly didn’t find the right setup for qualifying – that is something they can learn from for future races. And even after the race, based on what Mercedes were saying about the condition of the tyres on both cars after the first stint, they aren’t convinced that going for an overcut would have lead to any better result. So plenty for Mercedes and their drivers to learn about the performance of the tyres on both the short and long runs to ensure they don’t run into similar troubles in future.
24th May 2021, 9:45
@erikje Your Max has literally trashed Red Bull in Spain and Portugal but you make a whole drama about Lewis ? You are a Max fan yet obsessed with Lewis
24th May 2021, 10:05
Whats the relevance of your comment? The discussion is on Lewis. Dont get distracted now. Yes, Max has made his errors and will make some more in the future. We are however talking about Lewis. Why are Lewis fans so obsessed with 23 year old Max Have some pride for . sake and some confidence, Lewis is a multiple WDC. You dont have to defend him by putting some-one else down
24th May 2021, 10:00
Well at least he could have matched Bottas’ performance within the parameters the team set for both cars. Thats his first lesson to take out of this weekend. So it doesnt make sense to point at the team alone. Secondly, knowing Monaco is a one-off atypical track, there is no reason whatsoever to say anything bad as Merc will go to their winning ways anyway. Thats a learning for him as well. So, 2 major things Lewis missed this weekend. For us as spectators its a good thing because it will hurt and weaken Mercedes leading to a more level playing field.
Carl Parker (@mysticarl)
24th May 2021, 11:26
Nothing in his statements seemed ‘hateful’ to me. For some reason you have real issues with people expressing an opinion that isn’t yours and you’re putting that in a very aggressive way.
Both Lewis and Max get vocal on the radio when things don’t go their way, it’s just competitiveness I think rather than any lack of respect for what the team do.
Lewis had a weekend worse than Bottas. He didn’t ‘know’ things were going wrong from Thursday at the time, it could easily have been that the changes they made to Bottas for quali made him slower rather than faster – if they’d have been so sure they’d have done it to both cars.
mystic one (@mysticus)
24th May 2021, 14:09
here is a real team player for you?
this is how your sweet gentleman talks to his team.
or hear his more friendlier conversations?
ham didnt say anything degrading or any kind of foul language, or were you watching the video with your head between your legs?
“I guess for every top athlete it’s hard to loose, but do it as a team.” Agree, and i can see how lewis chooses his words carefully and dont remember ever he used a foul language like this one young gentleman or this profoundly for this long?
facepalm’s repeated hate message although annoying it is on point most of the time…. you guys cant fault ham or admire his talent, instead picking very choice words out of a whole conversation and make it sound drastic when there is nothing in the slightest wrong in it… if you cant identify your own hate for a driver, i suggest you go talk to some shrink, because that hate and anger will eat you inside out
24th May 2021, 16:47
If you do not see the difference between an angry driver in the heat of the moment or a driver throwing his team under the bus after the race, there is a real problem.
,BTW, there is no hate anywhere in these topics, only blind delusional fans claiming hate.
26th May 2021, 12:42
Hamilton driving behind Max stated after a race that he “l e a r n e d” so much about Verstappen’s driving as if he unraveled all its secrets. Hamilton did not tell us how much he had learned about Pierre Gasly’s driving after following him
for the major part of the Monaco race. He made no remark about the Alpha Tauri’s flexi wing. He did not express his admiration for the fashionable livery of that car. He did not tell the world-wide audience how much space of the track Gasly was using.
BUT ..he complained that his team did not gave him a winning car and strategy as if he is entitled to that every race.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
24th May 2021, 8:46
Fantastic. I love Lewis. I love Max – I’ll be happy for either get the WDC this year.
It’ll be great to see Lewis set new records for F1 and really stamp his name deeper into the history books.
It’ll also be great to see Max, an absolute top rate talent who is awesome to watch, win a well deserved championship.
Both drivers out-perform their cars most weekends, Lewis is (generally) almost flawless in his driving and constantly analysing the track. Max pushes what is often described as a tricky car to the absolute limits of what it can do and devastates anyone else who uses the same machinery.
I think the Mercedes will claw back the point deficit after what was an appalling weekend (Bottas was very unlucky and Lewis had a rare weekend where he didn’t perform beyond his car). But Red Bull tend to develop better in the second half of the season, hopefully changes to bendy wings won’t clip theirs too much.
24th May 2021, 10:17
Great, sensible comment, rare to see someone supporting both Max and Lewis. This season has the potential to be a great battle between the old guard and the new. Lets enjoy, and may the best man win.
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
24th May 2021, 8:54
Advantage Verstappen. I still believe the Merc is the better outfit overall and this weekend was a big result. If Lewis didn’t get his get out of jail free card at Imola I think the outlook on performance so far would be very different.
24th May 2021, 10:14
You should facepalm yourself, not so smart guy.
It’s advantage Verstappen clearly. Lewis did brilliantly to negate that in 3 out of 4 races and had a huge amount of luck in the fourth.
Monaco is an atypical track where Mercedes always is weaker than at most other tracks of the season even if it scrapes a win, so it won’t be remotely like this at other tracks, but it’s logical to assume that there’s a slight advantage to MV at the moment. The only question mark is what the upcoming clampdown on flexi wings will do to the RBR pace
24th May 2021, 10:28
Would Max have started behind Charles he might have finished behind Charles, but maybe not. Max had the better race pace and RB have the best pitstops. We never know. But Max was not lucky. He was on his way to the pole when Charles was overdriving his car. He was unlucky Charles took away a pole and a perfect weekend. The lucky guy this weekend was again Lewis. He had a bad performance and was lucky that Bottas and Charles didn’t finish.
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
24th May 2021, 12:50
Just a troll, don’t waste your time.
24th May 2021, 12:58
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
24th May 2021, 12:52
Who’s this Facepalm guy who’s been let out on special day release? Should we call for help?
Jules Winfield (@jules-winfield)
24th May 2021, 14:34
Care in the community just doesn’t work.
24th May 2021, 9:10
Perhaps by the same token HAM should get a bus-logo on his overall ;-)
24th May 2021, 9:27
It was nice to hear the return of “petulant, entitled child” Lewis on the radio – his attitude to coming out behind Vettel was priceless.
As talented as he is, it’s a sad reminder that when things don’t all go his way he can be unbearable!
24th May 2021, 9:55
24th May 2021, 10:02
Yawn the same old tired dogwhistles..
Why does Lewis get held to an higher standard vs other drivers on the grid. Its a sad reminder that there is deep rooted irrational hatred and double standard hypocrisy shown towards Lewis.
When Verstappen says the same thing (or worse when he swears multiple times) you hail him as being hungry, passionate and wanting to push the team to do their very best.
24th May 2021, 10:22
– is still in the best car
– has won 7 world championships
– has beaten all his teammates
– has won everything since 2014
– is lauded for being the GOAT
– revels in all the above
…is there any wonder he’s held to a higher standard than the others?
24th May 2021, 10:41
I think a better way of putting it when making that particular point is that some hold Ham to a different standard. I would expect if Ham had used the language Max did on Saturday those same people would be reaching for the smelling salts and saying won’t somebody think of the children.
But rightly or wrongly as a Hamilton fan I do hold Ham to a higher standard for the reasons you give, and also why I hold Max to a higher standard than most others. Luckily for us the pair of them regularly achieve or surpass those high standards.
24th May 2021, 11:49
Max swears indeed. But he never or at least as far as I know, never put the blame on his team!
Every driver, Lewis included, has sometimes an off day, weekend, race. It happens. But do not blame the team for your own faults.
Lewis damaged the car during quali. His fault, not the teams.
A very capable car, looking at Bottas.
mystic one (@mysticus)
24th May 2021, 14:31
he puts the blame on everyone but himself all the time… it is the engine… f this, it is the tyre f this, i m not stupid but everyone around me is… it is the gearbox f this, it is x driver f this…
Blaming team? just get your head out of between your legs, was he angry? he was, was he frustrated, rightly so, did he soley blame the team? i dont think you hear him talk or cherry pick individual words out of context.
Is the season over?
Is he at the back of the grid in terms of team/car?
Is this his first ever race?
Is this his first ever mercedes race?
Did he manage to win any GP or WDC? Did he manage to get POLES?
Has he done any come back from bad deficits?
Let me tell you one thing, he has the longest point scoring of anyone in the field (something to do with being consistent despite bad weekends, something people with this much hate cant understand or see), in fact in the top 10 most consistent/consecutive scoring charts, he holds the 1-2-9th positions… 1st one still continuing! Like his pole records, win records, WDC records, he has nothing left to prove or learn…
This young “polite” gentleman has a lot to prove and learn rather than being bullish childish when he wins an odd weekend. If he doesnt, he will become another montoya in history… Hamilton is already GOAT, and probably cement it at the end of the season for years to come, which a lot of past and present drivers acknowledge and admire, except the max fans and ham haters… That is a fact…
24th May 2021, 16:24
If Lewis had complained on the radio while extracting the most of the car that would not be a big problem but unlike Max this season so far he had a bad performance, soundly beaten by his team mate on pace and strategy, and kept acting like he was flawless the entire weekend. He cannot put the blame only on the team for that: this is the attitude of a petulant child indeed.
24th May 2021, 18:13
Are you seriously asking why some people hold arguably the best driver in f1 history to a higher standard than others?
24th May 2021, 9:45
Looks like Max gave a different meaning to Hammertime!
24th May 2021, 10:55
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 10:11
Except, paradoxically, those are words Max and words asking for a response, in a title fight, which kind of makes Hamilton’s point! Max has yet to prove that he can win the season-long war with all kinds of incidents, setbacks, and… comments. Don’t get me wrong, Max did give the best response possible on track, Lewis has the answer to the little test he made with that throwaway interview remark on Max, but by doubling-down with the retort, he’s simply passed the (minor) provocation back to Lewis. Expect a response. However Max is a cool fish, he’s not going to be so easily wound up and made that clear.
24th May 2021, 11:51
You forget it was Max’s response to mind games by Lewis.
And he delivered.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 12:15
No erikje, I haven’t forgotten. I’m saying that Max’s response is itself another verbal provocation. And I said he delivered! Even when we agree you have to disagree, it seems compulsive…
24th May 2021, 16:50
nope we do not agree on this point.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 22:02
We agreed that Max ‘delivered’ (on track). If you disagree that Max hasn’t yet proven he can win the season-long war involved in winning a title fight, you seem a bit of touch with the reality of what he’s actually achieved in Formula 1 so far.
24th May 2021, 10:14
The monday after – some thoughts about the race:
In an interview elswhere on this site Max mentioned a feeling of redemption after his victory. Redemption is the exact same word Daniel Ricciardo used to discribe his Monaco victory 2018 after a failed pit stop denied him victory the year before. It was the year Verstappen put his car in the barriers in the exact same spot Leclerc did this year, though Max did it in FP3 which took him out of contention for qualifying and therefore for a top spot on sunday. Charles at least had his pole in the bag at the moment of crashing (though it eventually meant the same for him as it did for Max in 2018).
Max’s FP3 crash in 2018 has been noted by various pundits to be a turning point in his career. Afterwards he upped his game, made better judgements in race situations and became an allround better driver. Maybe it’s becoming a cliché to refer back to this moment on each highlight in his career, but since it’s on the same track, since he’s been fast before but was never able to tie it all together, since he’s used the same words…it seems that Max and Monaco have finally become a happy couple.
The racing is incredibly boring, but I was very happy to see the cars back on track on Wednesday. No track can match the images of cars whizzing past the barriers through an actual functioning city on the Meditteranean. As mentioned many times before: no one would see this as a good idea if you’d introduce it now, but since it’s been here for so many years it really is the heritage that lacks on so many other tracks desperately. The track isn’t inviting to good racing, but neither are the gigantic cars we’re seeing these days, so don’t only blame the track for a boring Sunday. Besides all of that it’s good to hear the Dutch national anthem being played by actual horns, in contrast to the rather average midi file that is seemingly used otherwise :)
The heat of the moment
After Spain there were heated debates on the championship battle. Lewis was the first to win twice in a row. Did Max lose crucial opportunities, or was Mercedes simply too fast? One race later both Verstappen and Red Bull are in the lead of the championship. Not because Red Bull was all round fastest around Monaco, but because other teams and drivers didn’t tie it all together at Monaco and they did. There’s a big chance everything will be different again after the next race. So far Lewis won 3 out 5 to Max’s 2. But Max’s missed opportunities led to to 3 second places, to Lewis’s 2 second places and 1 seventh. This season is not gonna be about the most wins, but about making the best of the opportunities you either make or get. For that reason it was a very good weekend for Red Bull. But it could all be different in two weeks time.
24th May 2021, 10:24
And, as an after thought: Red Bull were on the back foot after Spain. The car wasn’t fast enough, the strategy wasn’t on point. They were, in Mercedes’ early season words, stung pretty badly. Now Monaco is a unique race, so it’s too early to tell…but I wonder if Spain 2021 could have the same effect on their (Max and Red Bull’s) championship bid as Max’s 2018 Monaco FP3 crash had on him as a driver.
24th May 2021, 11:46
Magic Monaco? The only thing good about it is the drivers going as fast as possible in practise and qualifying. They should change Monaco qualifying to indy500 style, one driver on the track at a time. This track to me only suits time trial shootouts for modern F1. The formula E race recently at 1970s F1 speed was closer to any magic than yesterday’s farce.
24th May 2021, 13:38
I didn’t mean the racing as such (I agree with you on that), I meant that the atmosphere is unlike any other track. You won’t get the sense of speed or the slow mo shots of the cars clipping the barriers on the apex anywhere else.
24th May 2021, 10:52
He finished the race. Well that is something yes.
Fastest car all season and got only one pole out of 5 weekends though. Only won two races as well. Unless he starts winning every race “easy” like Hamilton did when he had the fastest car, Verstappen needs to do less talking and more actioning.
24th May 2021, 11:48
And actions speak louder than words he says. What a random comment. He will be picked up on this comment by media and fans during his next crucial mistake in a season with a top car
24th May 2021, 11:54
For now max delivers and Lewis playing mind games.
So his remark was spot on.
25th May 2021, 0:51
That is really heavy criticism, I guess nothing verstappen does will make you consider him great. From what I see, red bull was good in qualifying this year, but in the race red bull was only fastest here, the rest mercedes was equal or better.
25th May 2021, 22:47
There’s a reason why this comment chain took place right after your comment, take a hint @f1osaurus
24th May 2021, 11:00
Jeez, this comments section is as toxic as Youtube.
Carl Parker (@mysticarl)
24th May 2021, 11:33
Yeah, not sure why – people are generally constructive when disagreeing but not so much above! Shame really as seeing two teams actually competing at the front close to each other should leave plenty to discuss without mudslinging. Hopefully they’ll get bored and take it elsewhere.
Really happy for Sainz, Norris and Vettel for their positions, I think Seb needed it more than the other two but hopefully he can build confidence and get a balance he’s happy with.
The Marbles of Monaco
24th May 2021, 12:54
It’s a real shame, but such a juvenile attitude from so many who constantly see every outcome, win or lose, as an opportunity to denigrate a driver they don’t like.
We are currently witnessing two of the greatest drivers of their generation in closely matched machinery, both with superb teams behind them battling for both championships, but rather than sit back and enjoy the spectacle all some people can think of is ‘how can I twist what just happened to make this driver look bad?’. This is the attitude of the school playground.
Anyone who recognises the above as their behaviour needs to remember that nearly every driver on the grid, even the least successful ones would rightly laugh in your face at the pathetic comments, hell they made it to Formula One, get paid millions and what have you done with your life? Remember that when your mom knocks you bedroom door to ask if you’ve any more washing that needs doing.
24th May 2021, 12:18
@wsrgo Maybe this is rose-tinted glasses again, but the comment section of this site was considerably better in the past. You have a bunch of the same trolls nowadays who keep regurgitating the same rubbish time and time again without offering much of an insight. We’ve all had emotional arguments on this forum, I’m guilty of it as well, but there seems to be far less of a constructive discussion nowadays. This is a shame as this was generally the best website for having a discussion about F1, which it still is, but less so in my opinion.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 14:13
@mashiat @wsrgo @mysticarl @willwood
I don’t usually like to criticize the site, I appreciate the hard work that goes into it, the deadlines involved, the need to generate interest (and some revenue) and so on. But I think the headline is too categorical and too polemical, which ends up generating these kinds of absolute b/w debates. “Verstappen reminds Hamilton he has little to prove in title fight.” Did he really? Objectively that just seems plain wrong and itself highly provocative on that basis alone. Verstappen has not proven he can win a F1 title fight. A long from it still. Maybe it’s intended to imply ‘prove in general’ but the ambiguity still seems deliberate. And there too even it is still debatable that Max has little to prove (to whom? about what?). Kimi Raikkonen has little to prove about being a quality race. But did he prove he could be a multiple champion? No, far from it.
I mention this especially as @hazelsouthwell said RaceFans would be reevaluating how it pitches these articles about Hamilton (a bit more indirectly here) due to racist comments on a recent article. I didn’t actually read them as they were deleted and, to be honest, I now mostly avoid reading or responding to comments on Hamilton-only articles. But the headline to this article surprised me because of that.
Will Wood (@willwood)
24th May 2021, 16:00
Hi @david-br! Thanks for your comment.
I appreciate you expressing your views in such a considered manner. I’m always welcome to receive constructive criticism when it’s made in good faith.
I can understand your view here. I can assure you that my own intention in writing these reviews is to highlight what I find to have been the most interesting factor behind the story of the race. I think the comments of both protagonists last week were particularly fascinating to me – Hamilton’s for how he suggested something so bold about his rival and Verstappen’s for how he appeared to be punctuating his triumph by saying something equally punchy in return.
I think it’s exciting as a neutral observer to see these two giants locked in a potential year-long battle for the first time. I would say that Verstappen has impressed me with the maturity and resolve he seems to have now he’s actually able to mount what appears to be a genuine challenge for the title for the first time in his career. I have also had plenty of praise for Hamilton too this season, especially given the manner in which he’s claimed his three victories thus far.
While you’re correct that we’ve never seen Verstappen tested in this manner before, I would argue that Verstappen is demonstrating that he truly has all the pieces in place to be considered a true contender to Hamilton’s crown this year. Many may disagree with me, of course. And I very much enjoy reading the thoughts of those who can argue their own perspective in a reasoned and respectful way.
I think it’s also true that, unfortunately, there are too many followers of the sport who are unable to express their opinions of either Hamilton or Verstappen in a healthy or appropriate manner. Anything that is racist, abusive or disrespectful is never acceptable on any platform. Ever.
I think also beyond trying to discourage bad faith or low-effort commentary designed to rile up fans of Driver A or Driver B, its also important that we all encourage positive discourse too. It’s partly for that reason why I choose to engage with comments that I believe are expressed in the correct spirit – even if I might not agree with them.
I think I will try and do more to engage with comments on these review articles where it’s very much a case of Keith giving me a platform to give my own personal take on a race. Maybe by doing that, it will show that the point of these reports is to encourage the kind of positive, passionate conversation I think a lot of us want and enjoy to be a part of. Certainly not to provoke any putrid hot takes from bad faith actors.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 16:19
Thanks too @willwood for your considered reply. I’m totally with you about the interest of discussing these off-track aspects of racing and the personal dynamics between the drivers. I also think the article itself is balanced and nuanced! The question for me was solely the headline. I don’t know what it’s like being the journalist, not the reader, but the headlines on any site are powerful stuff, they trigger and colour reader reaction tp the articles themselves. The same happens a lot on newspaper sites where far more subtle articles can be skewed in interpretation by a strong headline. I certainly think you (and we) should be able to express our opinions in a lively conversation in good faith. I’m also with you about Verstappen, I think he has all the elements needed for any title fight (though like you said others will disagree). But I also think Christian Horner, for example, really loves this kind of rivalry and pitting his drivers against other drivers and teams, and may have deliberately overblown Hamilton’s remark for his own uses! Again, though, that’s all part of the intensity of Formula 1 competition and provoking rivals into mistakes. Mercedes and Hamilton are certainly no exception to doing the same.
24th May 2021, 19:25
@david-br Personally I didn’t find the headline that provocative and I expect headlines to be a bit provocative anyway, as there is an art to the headline and has been for decades in all media.
I don’t find this back and forth between LH and Max to be all that potent for the time being, and is expected when so much is at stake. I don’t even think what LH said was that provocative for after all he certainly has nothing to prove, other than perhaps I could say provocatively having a Max level driver as a teammate and then seeing how much he racks up the numbers above and beyond said teammate and the rest of the field.
As to Horner overblowing LH’s remarks? I must have missed something for what I heard CH say of LH’s ‘more to prove’ remark was just ‘that’s Lewis for you. He likes to play those games. Max will just do his own thing.’ Just as he has said sarcastically of TW ‘he seems to know everyone’s business’ followed by ‘we’ll just worry about ourselves.’
I think CH is just getting a bit of a chuckle out of this (flex wings, LH and TW’s remarks in general) while enjoying their own competitiveness, fully confident in Max handling his end, while respectful that Mercedes is a mountain to climb on their end.
I mean come on…LH and TW saying RBR’s wing is worth six tenths. They’re basically saying without RBR’s wing Mercedes would be as utterly dominant as last year or any other? That sound reasonable? I’m a bit surprised that they sound this rattled so soon in the season at the hint of actual competition, and which for all we know they may yet take over and dominate like they have in every other season in this era.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 23:04
@robbie I think I’ve explained above that I didn’t find the headline provocative myuself, I said I think it provokes strong partisan reactions, which could be healthy debate, but tend not to be (present company very much excepted!).
Just to go over this: I do think Max has to prove he can win a F1 title, that’s self-evident, and it includes kinds of pressure he hasn’t yet faced. He doesn’t need to prove how good is or a lot of other things. That’s the first point. Second, when Hamilton said ‘he has more to prove still,’ or words to that effect, he was explaining Max’s aggressive passes on him in the first corner(s), and there I think Hamilton is wrong: that’s not why Max made those passes at all. He simply calculated that Hamilton was more likely to back off than risk a collision because Lewis thinks he’ll be able to pass later and has tended to play safe at race starts over recent years. That’s just excellent racing judgment on Verstappen’s part, nothing to do with proving anything. Third, your totally minimizing Horner’s actual remarks! They were far more oil-on-fire, saying ‘Lewis likes that mind games rubbish’ (like he doesn’t: it’s his job as team principal! motivating his own drivers, demotivating rivals) and adding other stuff about Toto Wolff. And personally I think Max got lulled into that word battle, even though he says he did his answering on track, perfectly true. But the end of race barbed comments saying he ‘answered on track’ are a verbal provocation. Otherwise he’d have just kept quiet! So he’s engaged in ‘mind games’ too. What I don’t get is why you see so much difference between the two sides.
24th May 2021, 23:32
@david-br It’s not that I see so much difference in the sides, it’s more that when you seemed to suggest Horner was provoking I suggest it’s moreso much ado about nothing in the grand scheme of things. TW and LH are the ones who started it with the flexy wing talk and the more to prove talk, and to me Max and Horner are more on the ‘whatever’ side, just responding in kind, but I really don’t see any of it as being a big deal, which is why I don’t really think there is a lot of bite to the headline in terms of what it might provoke, other than to those who wish to make more of it than there is.
24th May 2021, 14:03
I think fans of the sport have been replaced by fans of particular drivers / teams on racefans. It’s gone from structured arguments to fanboyism. Everywhere it’s just a debate about whether Red Bull is the better car or who’s better, Lewis or Max. Quite boring actually.
25th May 2021, 22:41
To be honest, that’s quite rich coming from you, because you’ve always had a bit of an agenda against Vettel. Nonetheless, I understand where you are coming from.
I miss the days of Prisoner Monkeys. The quality of discussion was much higher circa 2010-2011, when I first joined.
F1osaurus is without a doubt one of the worst posters in the history of this website. He drags every comment section he is involved in to Twitter level discussion.
26th May 2021, 3:39
Regardless of my bias.. I always structured my arguments based on some data or facts, or build a logical case for my point… Instead of coming here and just saying “Max rules” or Red bull is the fastest without having any information to back that up.
BTW.. I voted for Vettel as DOTW
26th May 2021, 9:43
Fair enough, and regarding Vettel, with the benefit of hindsight the doubters and naysayers were proven right.
Those who think that Verstappen is better than Hamilton will eventually be proved right too, but it will take patience and years for the truth to unfold.
someone or something
24th May 2021, 12:32
Addtionally, he was driving a car shaped like itself!
24th May 2021, 13:34
I dislike this fantasy that drivers out perform their cars. The more correct thing to say is the driver that extracts the maximum or most out of the car compared to their partners… Is more correct. There is no 1 who can out perform tgeir car thats plain idiocy.
24th May 2021, 13:35
“…Beating a faster Verstappen in Bahrain…”
True, excluding all 29 times Lewis gained tenths by crossing track limits what enabled him the undercut, Verstappen seemed faster. Only not fast enough, with sufficient overspeed, to overtake after the undercut. That undercut was the key moment.
24th May 2021, 13:37
Congratulations Max. Your win makes F1 fans excited. The race is healthily on as it should be.
The talk about mind game was started by Marko, without Lewis even uttered a word then, early on, weeks ago. Horner, the Stirrer-in-Chief, naturally echoed that than once and of course esp. after Lewis’ comment on Max having something to prove. It looks like RBR is the one who planted the mind games business. Max, like other drivers, does not always just do the talking on the tracks.
Does Max need to prove himself? To a certain extent, yes. It is Max who claimed that 90% of the grid would be champions too if they’ve got a car like that of Merc’s. He has the car now. He and RBR said so themselves. The rubs appear to be if he wins, he has to acknowledge that it’s the car, or at least, the car plays the key role. If he does not continue to win or be the WDC, will he say he hasn’t got the car, or he’s not up to it (yet? this year?), or the Merc still has the better car.
His fans probably have something to prove too? Already there appeared to be conflicting narratives. From the outset, should the narrative be, his car is still inferior to Merc’s, and Max is a racing god, who can drag an underdog of an RBR current car to be the WDC. Unlike Lewis, so it was claimed, who’s relied on a great car? Or should the narrative be Max now has the car, and gosh, it turns out, the car does help him after all. In the last 4 races, pro Max commenters began shifting a narrative that after all Merc is still a better car so of course Max couldn’t win yet. The Monaco win may force Max’s fans narrative to switch again. How interesting.
But then, although Monaco’s points are great for Max, one feels Max would surely be more of a proven winner if his rivals could race him at the front, not retiring (e.g. Lecrec). Or on a track that allows overtaking? Where are all those comments that proclaimed they watched processions only? Or they yawned when Lewis won? And would his fans want Max’s wins came about, hugely helped by his bendy wing? Surely, Max’s wins should be purely on his awesome abilities, not tainted by his team’s reputation of “trying it” on until found out, or tendency to threaten to pull out of F1, if regulations don’t go their way.
One thing no longer needs any proof. RBR’s hope is high in Max bringing the championship home this year. One only needs to see Horner’s (and Marko’s) adoring eyes when looking at Max. Total adoration. Checo, or whoever Max’s next partner is, needs to rely on their own inner strengths because beyond cursory supports to them, not much is left after all that.
F1 is great. Let’s enjoy this season.
24th May 2021, 15:49
Here you are again…One quick question: Do you think I care what the Russian enemy says to me? The answer is no.
24th May 2021, 16:57
13th June 2021, 15:25
Legend says that the answer still is no!
Jim from US (@jimfromus)
24th May 2021, 13:59
Monaco is a horrible track but Max won which is the whole point. I am disappointed in HAM as he whined all weekend. Mercedes had a capable car as demonstrated by BOT. HAM just couldn’t drive. He qualified mid pack. Then he was complaining to team when he didn’t get ahead of Gasley. Lewis, you were driving too slowly to beat Gasley. That’s on you.
David BR (@david-br)
24th May 2021, 15:34
@jimfromus The bit that sticks out is Bottas on a run that might have grabbed poll. With Lewis down in 7. That was poor. The Mercedes pace in the race was unimpressive though. Bottas was dropping back from Max before his eventful pitstop.
24th May 2021, 16:10
@jimfromus Consistent though, and it is why I can’t get behind the guy. Oh of course I respect that he is a great driver, but for me it is his entitled personality that backs me off being a fan and respecting his personality, and has particularly since 2011. Back then what struck me was his admission that off track distractions were costing him on the track on race weekends, and I thought that was a slap in the face to Mac and it’s sponsors and the hundreds of millions they were spending on him to be more professional than that, and to always be giving him a top car.
Nonetheless I was all for his move away from Mac to Mercedes and am on record on this site as defending his move when many thought he should have stayed at Mac. I thought it was time for him to leave the Mac nest, and I also believed Brawn when he said where a driver would want to be for the hybrid era was with a factory based team. And boy was he right.
But the next reminder for me of why I can’t get behind the guy was when he won the WDC in 2015 in the US. After that, he basically implied that he wished the season was over, and that he was in party mode. Fine. Let the entitlement set in full force. However, we then witnessed the 7 race win streak of Nico going into 2016, and even though LH had started to phone it in during those last 3 races of 2015, and wasn’t earning his spots ahead of Nico, he was still on the radio asking for extreme strategies in order to be put ahead of him, of which thankfully and rightfully the team denied him. On top of that he repeatedly complained ‘you can’t pass in these cars,’ which, while being a fact that still exists today, it was a reminder of how lucky he was to have that tenth or two on average over Nico and keep him in his dirty air in these cars. He was in essence admitting that Nico was often simply handcuffed in dirty air, which yes of course was on him for not being ahead of LH more often, but which at the same time is a reality of these cars that are terrible for close racing. LH then spent the 2016 season claiming they wanted Nico to win etc etc, I don’t need to go over the whole history of that with TW even feeling the need to publish a letter defending the integrity of the 1500 staff at Mercedes. LH had been publicly feeding the conspiracy theorists and TW had had enough of that. LH’s verbal behaviour that season was a real low point for me.
Yeah for me yesterday’s radio comm was just consistent with what LH does when the chips are down. Of course some of that is frustration, imho borne of entitlement, and of course I fully acknowledge much of his talk away from the heat of the moment is more reasonable and grateful, and of course many drivers say many things in the heat of the moment, I get all that. But it is for me what LH has being saying consistently now for a long time that is the reason for me personally I just can’t cheer for the guy. It’s not hate. I’ve not lost a second’s sleep over his successes. I’m just not into entitlement and it makes me question whether the gratitude is genuine or put on. It’s harder to know amongst the entitlement. I’m sure he completely gets how crucial the team and car is, but seems to think too much that they’d be nothing without him. The kneeling beside the car after dominating a race, like he’s knackered from such a hardship when the other drivers that had to actually fight for their positions are just standing around like they’ve had a Sunday pleasure drive. He takes the necessary WCC car and team, and doesn’t squander that, and succeeds with it. Be humble about it. When the chips are down keep in perspective all that you have had and will continue to have the majority of the time. But he won’t. He’s shown that to me for a decade.
24th May 2021, 20:45
I agree with every word you say but everyone has their weak points in their personalities and this is Lewis’ weakness.
For all that I’d too rather not listen to that whine which has many times been justified.
The profanity of Max in full cry on the other hand.
Just shockingly in such poor taste and egged on by his protector Horner.
Some of the things Max calls drivers reminds me of when I was growing up in S Africa listening to raw and vile Afrikaaners (Dutchman) and that is exactly how Max sounds.
His (Max) talent is undeniable and in the same car as Lewis, Lewis would have a real tough time beating him.
I just cannot be a Max fan. He is raw unrefined guttural and at times unbelievably offensive.
He is becoming more calm.
I will admire his skill but never a fan.
A truly great sports person is the sum of all his assets as a person and in that regard Max will never be the equal of Lewis. Not even a shadow.
26th May 2021, 13:15
Hamilton should thank Bottas again. BOT dropping out saved HAM 2 points. (6 instead of 4)
24th May 2021, 22:40
Nothing wrong with a bit of needle between competitors. Bring it on!
25th May 2021, 2:58
Does no one else remember Max making a simular comment during 2020 testing? I think it may have been more along the lines of we’ll talk on track?
The main dislike i personally hold against Hamilton is the way he turns everything into something political… (not saying that I don’t support the causes, its the way he goes about it) I appreciate that Max is bringing things back to the track, and although it could very likely hold a double meaning or two, F1 is, supposed to be all about on-track driving, is it not?
25th May 2021, 10:11
It’s apparently childish to play mind games like saying your opponent are behind because of having made more mistakes..
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