Max Verstappen unhappy with Lewis Hamilton over safety stance

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Formula One’s youngest-ever driver, has accused Lewis Hamilton of being two-faced with his approach to Formula One safety.

Hamilton, who heads into Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix 24 points adrift of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, took aim at his rivals in Azerbaijan after a number of them expressed their safety concerns with a track which was billed as the fastest street circuit on the calendar.

“These drivers they moan so much, so much about so many things,” Hamilton said.

The super-quick entry to the pit lane in Baku was criticised by Rosberg and Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Verstappen, 18, also aired his grievances in the drivers’ briefing ahead of the Azerbaijan race.

“In the media he’s saying he doesn’t care, but when he talks to his team it’s different,” Verstappen, who won on his Red Bull debut in Spain earlier this year, said.

“I had an incident in the drivers’ briefing in Baku saying the pit entry was quite tricky, and he’s like ‘oh, you shouldn’t bother about it’.

“But then Nico jumped in and said ‘wait Lewis, you just said you were (scared) when you were entering the pit lane’. So what is this approach?’

“Maybe he wants to be cool.

“We are looking for safety, and we don’t want to die on the track.”

Hamilton, second to Rosberg in both practice sessions yesterday, has also been critical of the halo - the cockpit-head protection device which is set to be introduced in 2017. Hamilton described it as “the worst-looking modification in Formula One history”, and even threatened not to use it if it became mandatory.

“I prefer to do myb talking on track than talk about it in the briefing room, but I’m definitely not afraid (of Hamilton),” added Verstappen, who is 13 years the Briton’s junior.