When Verstappen clashed with Raikkonen and Ricciardo

Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton were involved in a thrilling and controversial championship battle last season.

Max Verstappen has been no stranger to controversy throughout his thus far young career and, after facing an abundance of criticism for several incidents in 2021, we take a look back at his spiky encounter with then-team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in 2017.

The Australian had been out-qualified by Verstappen on the Saturday, but after a quick start off the line, he managed to pass the 24-year-old into Turn 1.

But then, things got messy and Verstappen, who had been criticised for an incident at the Hungarian Grand Prix the year previous with Kimi Raikkonen, attempted an audacious dive back down the inside heading into the second corner.

It was never going to work, and he understeered straight into the sidepod of his team-mate, causing significant damage.

The 32-year-old would then spin going out of Turn 3, putting him out of the race while the Dutchman continued.

Aware that he had probably just been hit by his team-mate, Ricciardo asked race engineer Simon Rennie “Was that who I think it was?” to which Rennie replied, “yes.”

The Aussie would then label Verstappen a “sore loser,” and proceeded to flip him off as he drove past during the resulting Safety Car.

After the race’s completion, the former Red Bull driver slammed the Dutchman, putting the incident down to “immaturity” on his part.

“It’s…probably immaturity, that’s the one. [It’s] frustrating that it’s all over in two corners,” he said.

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“It’s not like he was trying to pass, there was no room, Valtteri [Bottas] was in front, I was on the outside, so there’s no room,” he continued in another interview.

“I don’t think he likes, obviously, when his team-mate gets in front of him.”

The young Dutchman would later apologise for his transgression, though it took Ricciardo several days to process the incident that had ended his race so early.

“Of course it’s not what you want,” Verstappen told Sky Sports.

“I think everything started in turn one. The start was actually quite good but then I got a bit squeezed wide with Bottas, I lost quite a bit of speed.

“Then we were both fighting for position in turn two so we braked quite deep into the corner but then I had a car in front of me so I locked the front and from there on I was just a passenger.

“I was trying to avoid Daniel of course but unfortunately that was not possible. Of course’ it’s never my intention to hit anyone but especially not your team mate, and especially with the relationship I have with Daniel it’s always very good, we can always have a laugh. This is not nice.

“So I apologise to Daniel for that and also to the team because we could have scored some good points here. But I will speak to Daniel in private and we’ll sort it out.”

Verstappen would then endure a difficult start to 2018, which was riddled with incidents and crashes, and last year he became embroiled in one of the tensest title battles Formula 1 has ever seen with Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Of particular significance were crashes at Silverstone, Monza, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, and the latter of those was perhaps the most bizarre, with the 24-year-old attempting to let the Briton by having pushed him off the track earlier in the lap.

So he braked down the straight just before the final corner in an attempt to allow him by but, unaware of exactly what his rival was trying to do in the middle of the track, Hamilton went straight into the back of him.

The 37-year-old would later go on to win the race, but Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle was particularly unimpressed with the Red Bull driver’s driving that night.

“I think Verstappen has got to think about his driving standards. They were too much today,” he said.

“There’s aggressive, determined, feisty racing and then there’s what we saw this evening, which was too much.”

Fellow former F1 driver Johnny Herbert agreed, noting that the Dutchman will do whatever it takes to secure the championship.

“It puts a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth. I think it just shows what Max is willing to do to try and win this world championship,” he added.

“I agree with Lewis – I love Max for what he does on the racetrack – but he does really push the limits, and sometimes he pushes it too much.”

1996 world champion Damon Hill suggested that Hamilton must approach Verstappen differently than he has any of his previous rivals, and that incidents such as the one in Jeddah last year are always going to transpire in the heat of a title battle.

“There are some people who drive with absolutely no compromise whatsoever, and I think Max is one of those people. But he’s very skilful and very brilliant, and it’s exciting to watch,” he explained.

“I think Lewis, who has to deal with that, is now very cautious. He’s not intimidated but he’s very wary of Max, and probably rightly so.

“He’s had to put up with a lot of vigorous defending with Max. It’s not Lewis’ style but it’s Max’s style and Max is pushing everything to the limit.

“It’s for the world title, both drivers want it massively and there’s always going to be tears.”

The new season kicks off in Bahrain on 20 March, and there will be a second pre-season test at the venue next month.