Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen share a frosty relationship, with the Dutchman suggesting that Hamilton refuses to even say his name, following a controversy filled 2021 season.
The pair battled it out for the driver’s championship right until the last lap of the final race in Abu Dhabi, when Race Director Michael Masi altered the usual safety car restart procedure to give Verstappen a single lap opportunity to snatch the title, which he took.
This was a painful experience for Hamilton who has admitted that he took some time to heal and fully come to terms with the circumstances in which he saw his record-breaking eighth world title taken away from him right at the death.
Despite the apparent lack of friendliness between the world class drivers, Hamilton has spoken to the media to praise the now two-time world champion for his amazing performances this season on his way to his second title.
“I think he’s done an amazing job, he’s done everything he had to do,” said the Brit.
“The team provided him with an amazing car and he’s delivered pretty much every weekend.
“He can be proud of the job he’s done, I know what it feels like to be in a position like that.”
Hamilton will be looking to put up a similar challenge for the title next year as he did in 2021, with Mercedes hoping that they can provide the Stevenage born driver with a much better car in 2023 than this year.
The Brackley based team struggled from the very start, losing a lot of time to their rivals in the development race as the battled a serious porpoising problem which was causing both their drivers significant amount of discomfort.
Red Bull Chief Advisor Helmut Marko has issued a warning to Verstappen with regards to Hamilton’s 2023 resurgence, claiming that the Brit is one of two drivers capable of challenging the 25-year-old next year, along with Charles Leclerc, as he expects the Silver Arrow’s car to be a lot more competitive next year.
As for the present, Verstappen has nothing left to fight for having broken the record for most wins in a season and wrapped up both titles, however Hamilton will be desperate for a win in Brazil or Abu Dhabi, as he currently finds himself on the longest winless streak of his career.