Sir Lewis Hamilton refused to answer when asked a question about Max Verstappen’s personality.
Hamilton and Verstappen were embroiled in an enormous fight for the world championship last season, and it culminated with a controversial success for the Dutchman on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Now former race director, Michael Masi, let a limited number of lapped runners pass the Safety Car ahead of the final tour, and the 24-year-old took full advantage, passing the seven-time world champion to claim a dramatic maiden success.
There has been constant, petulant bickering on social media and at racetracks ever since between their respective sets of supporters, but there were several bones of contention before that too.
The pair collided on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, before coming together again in Monza.
A rear wing saga in Brazil was swiftly followed by a shove off the track from Verstappen while he was defending his lead, and there was more contact in Saudi Arabia.
All in all, it was a brutal rivalry that involved two competitors who will undoubtedly both go down as greats of the sport, but they are very likely not on each other’s Christmas Card list.
The same applies to Christian Horner and Toto Wolff, and the constant needle between Red Bull and Mercedes will not go away any time soon.
As a result, it is better for both drivers to leave each other be as much as they can, so Hamilton did not want to be drawn into talking about Verstappen in the Netherlands last weekend.
“I wouldn’t ever comment on either of those,” he said when asked about Verstappen as a driver and as a person.
Other drivers on the grid were more receptive to the question though, with Fernando Alonso saying, “he’s an amazing talent that we are lucky to witness in our time.”
Verstappen’s current title rival, Charles Leclerc, added, “he’s a very nice person, as a driver he’s obviously extremely quick.
Sergio Perez has been partnering Verstappen at Red Bull since last year, and the pair are set to win the Constructors’ Championship this season.
They have won 22 races between them since the Mexican’s arrival, and their strong working relationship, as well as the other worldly form of the reigning champion, has been ideal for the team.
“He’s driving at a very high level at the moment… he’s a good guy and someone I enjoy working with,” explained Perez.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo partnered Verstappen between 2016 and 2018, and their giggles made for some fantastic content for fans to enjoy.
They took nine wins between them, and gained a lot of respect for each other in the process.
“I think he’s gained respect from everyone in the paddock and his peers,” said the Australian.
“And obviously [he] has a massive fanbase, and I think he’s earned all of that.”
Verstappen won the Dutch Grand Prix last weekend, while a late Safety Car arguably cost Hamilton a place on the podium as he finished fourth.