Lewis Hamilton has fired another shot in his row with Max Verstappen by declaring that the Dutchman’s immaturity is costing Red Bull valuable points in their faltering championship challenge.
Hamilton lost ground to Sebastian Vettel in the Formula One World Championship title race after he finished third at the Bahrain Grand Prix while his rival claimed a second victory in as many races.
It could have been worse for Mercedes driver Hamilton following Verstappen’s gung-ho lunge. Verstappen, who spun in Melbourne a fortnight ago and crashed out of qualifying here, was then forced to retire from the race following his collision with Hamilton.
Defending champion Hamilton was able to carry on, but as he watched the incident back on a television replay, the Brit labelled Verstappen, 20, a “d***head”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cited the coming together as “hard racing”, and suggested such incidents draws fans to the sport. The stewards meanwhile, took no action.
“It is interesting to hear Christian has said that because they have a car which should be getting good results, but through inexperience, or not mature decisions, they are not,” Hamilton said.
“Max should have had a decent race. If (McLaren’s) Fernando (Alonso) was in their car, he would have got points for Red Bull. If I was in their car, I would have got points for Red Bull.
“I hope he (Verstappen) is learning through these situations. I went through that when I was younger so I know how it is. It is easy to get ahead of yourself and forget to respect the other guys that
you are racing against.
“While he has fantastic pace, as youngsters, we do not always make the right decision. I looked at the replay again and my opinion hasn’t changed.
“It could have been a big, big blow in the championship but fortunately it wasn’t.”
Hamilton departed the Middle East for Shanghai on Sunday night ahead of the second race of Formula One’s back-to-back instalment this coming weekend.
The defending champion, who will fulfil sponsorship commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday, was victorious in China last year and will be desperate to get his title charge back on track following
two winless rubbers.
“I can’t afford to lose any more points to Sebastian,” conceded Hamilton, who is already 17 points behind the Ferrari driver.
“China has been a good track for me in the past, so I really hope to climb the ladder and get back to where we have been working towards being in the last two races.”