Lewis Hamilton accused of dropping ‘subtle little digs’ in F1 title race

The Red Bull team principal maintains Max Verstappen has the mental strength to rise above mind games with his Mercedes rival

Jack Rathborn
Thursday 02 December 2021 10:42
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<p>Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points (Tim Goode/PA)</p>

Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points (Tim Goode/PA)

Red Bull’s Christian Horner has accused Lewis Hamilton “subtle little digs” and “provocations” towards Max Verstappen to gain an edge in the Formula 1 title race.

There has been a war of words between Red Bull and Mercedes throughout an engrossing season, which has included the team principals Horner and Toto Wolff verbally sparring in public.

F1 legend Alain Prost claimed the trash talk has gone too far, but Horner maintains the seven-time world champion is trying to use the media to unsettle Verstappen, who holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton heading into the final two races.

“Lewis continually drops his subtle little digs or provocations,” Horner told the Telegraph ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “But I think the great thing about Max is he doesn’t give a f***.

“He is who he is. He drives a car fast. And then he wants to go home and play on his PlayStation. It’s as simple as that.”

Horner then compared Verstappen to world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the style that he drives, with his “burning desire” to rally against adversity.

“Max drives like Tyson Fury fights,” Horner added. “He’s got that same heart. You just know he’s going to give it everything and if you knock him down, he’s going to get back up.

“He’s got that burning desire, that all-out commitment. I would put money on Max’s first flying lap in Saudi Arabia being the fastest of any driver.”

Horner then attempted to play down rising tension between himself and Wolff with a light-hearted debate over who would win a fight between the pair: “Oh, I’d take him any day of the week. Toto’s a big wuss underneath it all.”

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