‘Maximum respect’: Mercedes take swipe at Max Verstappen after Lewis Hamilton drama

Max Verstappen was awarded a five-second time penalty following a collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian GP.

Despite having not regularly competed with each other in 2022, unlike their titanic 2021 title fight, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton managed to collide for the second consecutive Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Hamilton colliding was a constant theme in 2021; however, none of the sort has happened thus far in 2022, until Sunday.

Following a Safety Car restart after Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen hit each other, Verstappen reacted much quicker to the race getting back underway than Hamilton ahead.

The Dutchman opted to swing around the outside of the seven-time World Champion at the opening corner, where he did get some of his RB18 ahead.

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As they flicked right for Turn Two, though, Hamilton had moved back ahead of the Dutchman, who was left with no room on the inside after opting not to yield.

Verstappen bounced over the kerbs and into the Mercedes driver, damaging his front-wing in the process.

Whilst Verstappen was forced to pit for a new wing, Hamilton continued but with minor floor damage.

The 25-year-old was awarded a five-second time penalty for causing the collision, as well as two penalty points.

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The incident dropped Hamilton behind a number of drivers, including, Verstappen’s team-mate, who Hamilton later enjoyed a great duel with.

Hamilton did manage to overtake Sergio Pérez for second place, with Mercedes taking aim at Verstappen on social media after his team-mate had a clean battle with the 37-year-old.

“Real racing at Interlagos,” the team wrote on social media, accompanied by a video of Hamilton and Pérez battling.

“Maximum respect as Lewis battled Checo for P2.”

Hamilton was asked about the collision with Verstappen after the race, where he revealed that he is aware that he’s become a “target” due to his “success”, with the Brit adding that it’s something he knows how to deal with.

“I think it’s natural when you have the success and the numbers on your chest, that you become a bit of a target,” Hamilton told the media after the race.

“But it’s okay. It’s nothing that I have not dealt with before.”

Verstappen also took a swipe at Hamilton after the race where he admitted that he “felt” that the pair were going to collide, with the Dutchman appearing to have perhaps hit his rival on purpose.

READ: Footage suggests Sergio Perez deliberately crashed at 2022 Monaco GP

“I just felt that as soon as I was going next to him,” Verstappen said.

“He had no intention to leave me space. 

“And I said okay, if you don’t leave me space we just are going to collide.”