Anthony Hamilton has denied that his son Lewis and Max Verstappen have a strained relationship, instead describing them as “fierce competitors.”
The two title contenders have collided twice on track this season, with reigning World Champion Hamilton calling Verstappen after their high-speed crash at Silverstone, and the pair colliding again at Monza as both were knocked out of the race.
Much has been said about how the two’s relationship has altered over the course of the season, but the Mercedes driver’s father maintains their competition is purely for sporting reasons, and that the two will share “huge hugs” after the season is over.
“No, that’s not true, they are fierce competitors,” Hamilton Snr replied when asked if the title rivals did not get on. “Lewis is where Max wants to be, Max is where Lewis wants to be.
“They are like boxers going into the ring, but I guarantee that when it’s over and done there will be huge hugs and laughter and kisses between the pair of them.”
Over the weekend in Austin, the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers attempted to start a timed lap at the same time in FP2 and went into the first corner level pegging.
Verstappen eventually backpedaled, but he was not amused, raising his middle finger and calling Hamilton a “stupid idiot” over team radio.
However, Hamilton’s father explained that competitors cannot be too friendly with each other on track, citing the example of Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Ricciardo – all of whom have friendly relationships off-track – piled into the same corner three abreast on the first lap at the Circuit of The Americas as they jostled for position.
“It’s called competition,” he said. “If you’re too friendly with your competitor then you ease off the gas a little bit too much. You only have to look further down the field yesterday between the two McLaren drivers and the Ferrari drivers – those guys are friends.
“This is racing. When you’re off the field you’re very friendly. When you’re in battle, all is fair in love and war.”
With his victory in Austin, Verstappen extended his lead over Hamilton in the World Championship to 12 points going into Round 18 in Mexico.
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