Formula One

Verstappen calls Hamilton ‘stupid idiot’ as rivalry flares

Cool customer: Red Bull’s Sergio Perez on way to clocking the fastest time.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Road rage bubbled as the track temperature rose in Friday’s second practice session for the United States Grand Prix as Max Verstappen called title rival Lewis Hamilton a “stupid idiot”.

World champion Hamilton angered Verstappen by pushing past on the inside of the Red Bull when the Dutchman was lining up a flying lap.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by six points in the title race.

After the Mercedes almost pushed Verstappen off the track, the Dutchman gave way, lifting his right hand off the wheel to make a rude gesture at Hamilton’s car.

Verstappen complained on team radio that Hamilton was a “stupid idiot” and never seemed to recover his poise, ending the session eighth fastest.

After the session, with his helmet off but his mask on, Verstappen was more guarded. “Just a mess with the traffic,” he said.

Yet, the afternoon was not a total loss for his team. Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez was fastest with a time of 1min 34.946sec. Lando Norris of McLaren was second 0.257s behind.

Hamilton who had what would have been the fastest time of the session scrubbed out because he crossed the white track limits line on turn 19, was third 0.364s, 0.50s ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren, Lance Stroll in an Aston Martin and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were the next three fastest, ahead of Verstappen.

“It was a good day,” said Perez.

“Obviously it’s going to be very tight trying to put it all together and find those couple of tenths that would put us in the mix for pole tomorrow.”

Mercedes dominated the morning session and Hamilton said changes the team made between sessions had not worked.

Penalties

Bottas faces a grid penalty on Sunday after Mercedes changed his engine for the fifth time this season. Also taking penalties in Austin are George Russell of Williams and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin.

Bottas drops five grid places for his sixth engine. Russell and Vettel will drop to the back of the grid after each switched to their fourth power unit of the season.


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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 6:40:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/formula-one/verstappen-calls-hamilton-stupid-idiot-as-rivalry-flares/article37143780.ece

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