Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

Hamilton and Verstappen say they’ll keep it clean at start after practice run-in

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen said they will try to avoid their third clash of the season when they line up on the front row of the grid for the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen took pole position for Sunday’s grand prix ahead of his championship rival. The pair have previously collided at Silverstone and Monza and came close to tangling during practice for this weekend’s race on Friday.

Nonetheless Hamilton said he doesn’t see the opening corner of the race as his only opportunity to get ahead of Verstappen.

“I hope we make it through turn one and we get a good race,” he said. “I don’t think it’s all decided on turn one.”

Verstappen said on Friday he didn’t understand the reason for the run-in between the pair in practice. The Red Bull driver overtook his rival at turn 15 before they began a timed lap, after which Hamilton re-passed him, leading Verstappen to abandon his next timed run.

Hamilton denied he had intentionally forced Verstappen wide while passing him at the final corner during practice. “I didn’t run him wide, he decided to go around the outside and ended up going wide,” the Mercedes driver explained. “But we were battling in the last corner and it’s a silly thing.

“It’s all fun and games and we’re going to have fun tomorrow and give it everything as you would expect. There’s no real difference to any other part of the season.”

Verstappen said the pair will “always try as professionals” to avoid contact.

“I don’t see why we always have to keep bringing this up,” he continued. “It’s not like we’re the only ones who have touched in this sport and these things happen, unfortunately.

“But I think we are on the front row again and everyone is just expecting a great race and that’s what we also expect, I think, as drivers and we just want to have a really good race.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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26 comments on “Hamilton and Verstappen say they’ll keep it clean at start after practice run-in”

  1. Of course they’ll try, but both will also be trying to exit the first corner at the front so there’s always a chance things will get too close as neither is really the sort that will back out if they think they’re in the best position.

    The first corner at this track isn’t as critical as it is at some other tracks, so I suppose it’s possible one or other might give ground, but it’s unlikely.

    Hamilton’s biggest issue will be starting from P2 which gives Perez the opportunity to get into the mix from the clean side of the track – if he gets in front of him before the corner I imagine he’ll consolidate rather than battle and try to pick him off in the first couple of laps.

  2. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    24th October 2021, 1:14

    Lewis should defend v Perez heading into turn one, and then get his energy and slipstream right for the back straight.

  3. Max is having such a disadvantage and a slow car. That Mercedes is so so dominant. Max is a God blah blah….
    And according to Horner this was a Mercedes and Hamilton track.
    Still those who are blind will continue to be blind and shout ‘Mercedes are dominant’ even if Max wins the next 3 races in a row (a very high possibility).

    My opinion is, Max is having the quickest car without a doubt and he had it for majority of the races this season. He is undisputably the favourite for the title. Today’s incident-free dry qualifying on a Mercedes-track just confirmed it.

    1. @amg44 But…but how can I claim Verstappen is a miracle worker doing wonders with the dog of the car that is Red Bull if I admit that it’s a faster package? Mercs are still dominant, it’s just that Verstappen is a racing god.

    2. We’ve seen where other drivers have been in the Red Bull in comparison (besides DR). Lucky to finish within 5 places of Max, but I am sure they are purposely sabotaging those guys because they don’t want the extra money those points would bring and they don’t want someone who can be on a helpful strategy. Yeah… A little common sense please.

      1. Nick T., both Marko and Horner have previously stated that Red Bull would prioritise the World Drivers Championship over the Constructors Championship if there was a question over which one they would prefer to win. Red Bull have therefore answered your question with a yes – they would be prepared to sacrifice their position in the Constructors Championship in favour of a WDC for Verstappen, and the commercial opportunities that a Verstappen WDC would be worth more to them than the possible loss from the WCC.

        Now, are Red Bull intentionally sabotaging the drivers next to Verstappen? No, that does not seem plausible. However, has Red Bull designated Verstappen as their lead driver and given him preferential treatment over their second driver, in the mould of Schumacher and Barrichello in the past? That is a possible scenario, and some of the comments by the team and by some of those former drivers could be seen as supporting that accusation.

        Red Bull have publicly stated that, in the past, Verstappen was being given a greater share of the resources of the team. They’ve stated that they rearranged their engineering teams to give Verstappen their most experienced engineers (as well as indicating that he has a larger team of engineers than their second driver), whilst Marko has given interviews talking about how Verstappen’s car is given priority when introducing upgraded parts and that Verstappen’s feedback is given more emphasis when deciding how to develop the car.

        Also, back in 2020, Gasly gave an interview with the Dutch press where he stated that everything at Red Bull is being tailored around what Verstappen wants, before following that up with some rather pointed comments that Red Bull needed to learn that they should also help their second driver and that, since Formula 1 was a team sport, they would achieve their best success if they were prepared to help both of their drivers maximise their performance, not just one of them.

        Whilst we don’t know the exact terms of the contract that Verstappen has with Red Bull, Gasly’s comments about how the team treated him, when combined with the comments that Marko and the team have made about the relative weighting of technical resources and the way in which the car is developed, would seem to imply that at least part of the reason for the gap between Verstappen and his team mates is because of Red Bull drawing away resources from their second driver in favour of Verstappen.

        1. May I add that since 2018 the RB car has had little to no input from drivers other than Verstappen. Not that it was planned but the turn over of drivers made it so.
          OK must fly I can hear the clip clop of a very tired white pony approaching from the Nth.

        2. Still, they build two competitive cars and its up to the driver to make the most of it..

    3. Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. :-)

    4. Who cares about who has the fastest car, we’re getting a championship fight until the end, if they hit each other it’s because they’re racing hard. They’re both excellent drivers on comparable machinery and we’re lucky because in F1 the stars don’t align like this that often. Instead of getting all riled up with conjectures we’re better off sitting back relaxing and enjoying the ride.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      24th October 2021, 10:42

      Damn… Lewis fans are really wound up by this!

    6. @amg44 Anyone who calls either Redbull or Mercedes ‘dominant’ over the course of this season is deluded. The cars have been very closely matched on balance and the truth is that on most weekends it’s been impossible to confidently state who will come out on top. The amount of mental gymnastics from fans on both sides trying to claim that their driver is a miracle worker while their opponent is driving a ‘rocket ship’ is mind boggling to me. I’m so glad I can just sit back and enjoy a competitive championship between two great drivers without having to spend all my mental energy trying to deify ‘my driver’.

  4. One “surprise understeering”, coming right up.

    1. « Oops … i slided, boss ! »

      1. Hamilton going down the front straight after the start on the radio – “Bono, my tires are gone.”

        1. Ahahaha excellent😁

  5. Since the booing that almost made him faint after Hungary, Hamilton will surely be wary any more dirty stuff, at least until the deciding last race(s).

  6. Hamilton should take it easy and wait for his shot on the beach straight.. but this race will be won in the pits and because of the management/ strategy not necessarily by brilliant overtaking. So Perez could make a real difference

  7. For the sake of balance, if there is contact I just hope Hamilton comes off worse. Max has been punted out of 2 race’s this year already

    1. Monza was his fault according to the stewards, and he was definitely not punted out at Monza, more like, Hamilton was punted out by Max

    2. unless you were referring to the Bottas incident

      1. Yes, he’s talking about silverstone and hungary, which are after all significantly more costly than monza was for either driver.

  8. Still Checo can take a hint from Hungaroring and do his duty

  9. T1 here is bit of a “Copse” corner, it is followed be a series of fast-flowing corners where the driver in the lead gets away, so it will be crucial for both to be that driver and not the one that follows him.

  10. They are coming together, probability will increase if Hamilton gets a better start. Hopefully it won’t be race ending.

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