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.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)