Max Verstappen Aims Dig At Lewis Hamilton With Praise For Teammate
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Max Verstappen has taken a sly dig at Lewis Hamilton, by pointing out that Mercedes teammate George Russell didn't struggle at the Emilia Romagna grand prix.
It has not been a good start to the season at all for Mercedes, who have found themselves way off the pace of rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.
The team have struggled to sort the purposing issue on their car, which has seen it bounce along during the opening four races of the season.
Last time out in Imola, the car was so bad for Hamilton in particular that the seven time champion had to suffer the embarrassment of being lapped by rival Verstappen, on the Dutchman's way to winning his second race of the campaign so far.
The car was so bad in Italy that team boss Toto Wolff even apologised to Hamilton for it, but Verstappen isn't so sure that it was so bad, pointing out that Mercedes other driver, Russell, finsihed the race in fourth.
"To be honest, it wasn’t something I was enjoying at the time," Verstappen said of lapping the 37-year-old, when talking to the Telegraph ahead of this weekend's Miami GP.
"I was just focused on my race, on getting through the traffic as cleanly as possible and winning. I mean, it wasn’t like I was ‘Oh, I’m lapping Lewis, what an amazing feeling.’
"I had great battles with Lewis last year. Now he’s in a car which is not so great.
"Having said that, of course, George [Russell] does finish fourth in that car. So it [the W13] is not all horrific right?"
There were some mitigating factors for Hamilton, having had a poor start to the race he found himself stuck in the midfield, whilst his teammate started well.
After that a run of bad luck, including being called in at the wrong time to change from intermediate tyres on to slicks, left him in a difficult position to pass those around him.
Verstappen did at least admit there were issues at hand, adding, "George probably had a good start and a good clean first lap, and that helps.
"... It was hard to pass. I mean also when there was only one dry line and when you don't have, let's say, a top speed advantage anymore.
"It makes it a lot harder to judge how far Lewis was off George. But clearly the whole weekend George was doing really well."
Hamilton has even had issues at the start of this racing weekend, even before qualifying started, with the seven time world champion fighting back against a ban on jewelry.
The former McLaren driver will at least start the Miami race ahead of his teammate, after finishing qualifying in sixth, one place behind former teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Russell in 12th.
Verstappen will only start on the second row, after Ferrari earned their first 1-2 in qualifying since 2019, with title leader Charles Leclerc finishing ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz.