‘Let him play’: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen involved in altercation

Max Verstappen claimed pole for the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It seems impossible for Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to avoid drama at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with the duo having seemingly been involved in yet another altercation, but who was to blame?

Q1 in qualifying was its usual frenetic self, with several drivers travelling considerably slowly in the final sector to give themselves a gap before pushing.

Whilst no rule is in place for drivers going slowly purposefully in the final sector, the drivers have somewhat of an agreement amongst them that they don’t jump the queue.

Hamilton did just that and overtook several drivers in the final sector, to get onto his hot lap as quickly as possible.

READ: Alpine boss: Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon could be replaced for Abu Dhabi GP

The last person the 37-year-old had to overtake, though, was Verstappen, who appeared to turn into the British driver.

As Hamilton went alongside the Dutchman, Verstappen’s onboard does show the 25-year-old looking into his right mirror and turning to the right ever so slightly.

Verstappen’s race engineer quickly piped up on the team radio to calm his driver down, after Hamilton broke the drivers’ agreement.

“Let him go. Let him play,” Verstappen’s race engineer said.

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The incident was, of course, nowhere near as controversial as what happened at the 2021 season finale, something that remains a talking point.

Verstappen, of course, claimed the title last year under the most exceptional of circumstances, after former race director Michael Masi failed to follow the rulebook.

Had the rules been followed, then Hamilton would’ve claimed an unprecedented eighth World Championship.

What happened last year was by no means Verstappen’s fault, with the 25-year-old simply playing his cards right and making the most of the circumstances.

The Dutchman will be hoping to win Sunday’s race under much simpler conditions, with the double World Champion being the clear favourite to claim victory number 15 of the season.

READ: Sebastian Vettel fumes due to ‘arcade game’ qualifying

Hamilton, on the other hand, will set off from fifth on the grid, after a challenging qualifying session for Mercedes.

The Brit will be hoping to end the year with at least a podium, considering that it looks increasingly unlikely that Mercedes will claim second in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ferrari appear to be very level with the Brackley-based team at the Yas Marina Circuit; however, battling Red Bull looks fairly unlikely in the race given how superior the Austrians have been.