Max Verstappen disappointed in Lewis Hamilton’s ‘disrespectful’ victory celebration

Verstappen Hamilton celebration disrespectful
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Max Verstappen felt the victory celebration by Lewis Hamilton after the British Grand Prix last weekend was “really disrespectful” considering he was in the hospital after being knocked out of the race by him.

Though Hamilton did call him afterward to talk things through, Verstappen is still bitter with the seven-time Formula One champion for the Lap 1 incident at the high-speed Copse corner. Verstappen got clipped by Hamilton’s Mercedes and flew off hard into a barrier. He needed precautionary checks.

“One guy is in hospital and the other one is waving a flag around like nothing happened, when you push a guy into a wall at 51G. Not only that, just the whole reaction of the team,” Verstappen said Thursday. “That’s not how you celebrate a win, especially a win how they got it, that’s what I find really disrespectful. I would be upset with myself for a move like that and I would definitely not celebrate like that.”

He took a swipe at Mercedes for their exuberance.

“It shows how they really are, it comes out after a pressured situation,” Verstappen said. “But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that … I could not celebrate like that.”

Hamilton did get a 10-second time penalty but was able to pass race leader Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari near the end for a 99th career win. He slashed Verstappen’s overall lead from 33 points to eight.

“I’m not happy with what happened there and to lose so many points,” Verstappen said. “I don’t think the penalty was correct. Especially with the speed we have, we are miles ahead of Mercedes with the speed. A 10-second penalty doesn’t do anything, so that penalty should definitely have been more severe.”

Hamilton defended himself, saying he was not aware at the time that Verstappen had gone to the hospital.

“It’s one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened, and there’s one thing not knowing and celebrating. I said I was not aware (he was in the hospital),” Hamilton said Thursday. “It’s my home Grand Prix … Emotions were running high. It was not an intentional celebration (against him). I’m not going to hide my emotions.”

The rivalry between the 23-year-old Verstappen and the 36-year-old Hamilton pits the finest raw talent of recent years against a veteran chasing a record eighth title to move one clear of Michael Schumacher.

Like the old rivalries of the past – between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, and when Schumacher battled contenders in his prime – it is on a razor’s edge.

“Wheel-to-wheel racing is always the best,” Hamilton said. “We’re now watching two teams incredibly close in performance. The rivalry’s not bad for the sport, how we engage with the fans, if there’s more people watching.”

Like those greats, Hamilton won’t change his racing style for anyone’s sake.

“In terms of the move, I would do it exactly the way I did,” he said. “My experience over the years speaks for a lot, I wouldn’t change it.”

On Sunday, Hamilton will bid for a record-extending ninth win overall at the Hungaroring and fourth straight.

“I really love it here in Budapest. This is an old circuit; they don’t make the tracks like they used to,” he said. “It’s a track that works for an aggressive driver in terms of racing style.”

Later Thursday, Hamilton was cleared of any further wrongdoing by the FIA after it reviewed the incident at the request of Red Bull.

The governing body took no further action after hearing from Red Bull via video conference. New information, including slides and GPS data, was rejected.

The FIA said stewards did not see “a significant and relevant new element which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time.”

The FIA also noted that stewards were concerned by “certain allegations made” by Red Bull, while Mercedes responded strongly.

“We hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton,” Mercedes said in a statement.

In addition to a stack of lost points, Red Bull estimated the cost of the damage at $1.8 million.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”