Hamilton aims dig at Verstappen after epic Leclerc duel

The Brit picked up his second consecutive podium finish with a vintage performance in front of his home fans at Silverstone

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Lewis Hamilton took a thinly veiled swipe at Max Verstappen in the aftermath of a thrilling 2022 British Grand Prix in which he snatched the final podium spot after a sensational fight with Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc.

A late Safety Car set up a grandstand finish at Silverstone, with the seven-time world champ quick to praise the driving of Leclerc after eventually prevailing in a spectacular duel for the ages.

The pair went wheel-to-wheel through Copse corner, the site of Hamilton’s infamous collision with Verstappen 12 months ago, and the Brit couldn’t resist aiming a not-so-subtle dig at his Dutch rival.

“Charles did a great job,” Hamilton said. “What a great battle. Very sensible driver, clearly a lot different to what I experienced last year.

“At Copse, for example, two of us went through there no problem. But what a battle. We had to have the tyre deficit in order to get past him but a really, really amazing weekend.”

Hamilton was deemed at fault for what was one of the defining moments in a controversial season-long battle with Verstappen in 2021 but recovered to snatch a late victory in front of his adoring home fans.

Lewis Hamilton celebrating his third-place finish on the podium at the 2022 British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton after finishing third at the 2022 British Grand Prix – LAT Images

This year, however, the celebrations were of a different kind, as Mercedes look to finally be on the cusp of joining the title fight after struggling to unlock the performance of the temperamental W13.

“I’d like to think we’re on the turning point,” Hamilton added. “We’re still on the bend but a big improvement from the car.

“We’ve still got work to do but a big thank you to the team for all the upgrades. We need more, naturally, and we have to keep pushing and stay positive. It’s great to be back in the fight.

“For a while it [the win] was feeling on. There was just a bunch of things that went against us. At the start we got up to third then they put us back to fifth.

“Then I lost ground to Lando so I spent a bunch of laps trying to get past him then the gap was five, six seconds to catch the Ferraris.

“But I was doing good times to catch them up, I had a really good long stint and I really thought, ‘maybe we can fight for a win here’. Unfortunately, just the gaps were too big and the pitstop was not very quick.

Hamilton eventually snatched third place from Leclerc after an epic Silverstone tussle

“Then at the end I struggled with the warm-up so then lost out to two cars. It was tough, it was so tough.”

Despite ‘settling’ for third, back-to-back podiums for Hamilton has him back within 100 points of Driver Standings leader Verstappen and 18 points of his teammate George Russell, who suffered his first DNF of the season in the horror lap-one crash that left Guanyu Zhou suspended between the trackside barriers and a metal fence.

Next up is the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, before the F1 circus heads to France and Hungary ahead of the summer break.

Andrew Wright
Andrew Wrighthttps://total-motorsport.com
Sports Journalist for Total-Motorsport.com
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