Red Bull react to ‘messy’ Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen incident that angered Dutchman

F1 preview: A lap at the United States Grand Prix

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Red Bull have branded the controversial incident which saw Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clash as ‘playground activity’. Verstappen labelled his title rival a ‘stupid idiot’ after Hamilton overtook the Dutchman in practice for the United States Grand Prix in Austin. 

Mercedes’ Hamilton, who is six points behind Verstappen in the leaderboard, overtook the Red Bull driver at the concluding left-hand turn in Friday’s second session.  

Verstappen temporarily ran off the track before racing wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton on the start-finish straight at 180mph. 

Hamilton held the inside line heading into the opening bend, with Verstappen eventually conceding the position. 

The Briton raced off into the distance, with Verstappen – who in the build-up to the race spoke of the need to “move on and forgive” after the pair’s recent run-ins – shouting “stupid idiot” over the radio and appearing to show his rival the middle finger in his cockpit.

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But Red Bull team principal Horner has said that there is not much to read into over the incident, even though the pair have consistently clashed over the last six months.  

“I think there’s not too much to read into it,” Horner told journalists.  

“It’s like playground activity really. So, obviously, Max had passed Lewis earlier in the lap, Lewis then obviously felt that he wanted to pass Max at the end of that lap, and then they drove around, drove down to the first corner. 

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“Then it all got a bit messy. I think Max indicated that he would have been first on the road. So I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

Horner continued about Verstappen: “He didn’t get to put a lap in, in its entirety. 

“I think we had enough information that he’d be comparable, in Sector 1. He aborted at Turn 12. So we had enough info with what we’d seen so far.” 

“Ignore it, don’t worry about it,” Verstappen’s race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, responded to the incident between Verstappen and Hamilton.  

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Verstappen then raised his middle finger in the direction of the Brit.  

He was forced to abandon a further two laps due to traffic, provoking yet further anger from inside the Dutchman’s helmet.

“I’m boxing – f*** this,” he yelled. But Verstappen was slightly coyer when speaking about the incident later on.  

He told journalists: “We were all lining up to go for a lap, so I don’t really understand what happened there.”

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