Red Bull ace Max Verstappen has said that there is still mutual respect between him and Championship rival Sir Lewis Hamilton despite the pair colliding on the opening lap of the 2021 British Grand Prix.
Hamilton was adjudged to be at fault for the collision, which left Verstappen in the barrier and resulted in his second DNF of the season, but the seven-time World Champion was able to recover and win the grand prix despite serving a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.
Following the incident, Hamilton was the subject of racist abuse by some F1 fans. This prompted the FIA, Formula One, Red Bull and some F1 drivers to issue statements condemning the abuse.
Speaking this week, Verstappen said there is still “mutual respect” between him and Hamilton, and the Dutch ace said he isn’t intimidated.
“I don’t get intimidated,” Verstappen said.
“I don’t pay any attention to mind games. These things don’t bother me. I just focus on the track in the best way possible. Anything beyond that is not relevant to me.
“But I don’t want to make any predictions about the season. It is difficult to call. So many things come into it.”
Commenting on his relationship with Hamilton, he said: “There’s mutual respect. It’s just that we live different lives, so that limits how much we could meet away from the track anyway.
“I wouldn’t hang out with celebs just for my profile.
“With some well-known people you can strike a good connection and build up a friendship, but I would only meet those I think are friends.
“I won’t call them mates when they are not mates, but just famous people. I want to spend time with family and real friends.
“I don’t spend too much time checking my Twitter or Instagram accounts to see how many followers I have, or worry about how many likes my posts get. I am not interested in that.
“If I am in Holland, which is not often, I mostly stay in the house, again with family and friends,” he added.