Hamilton and Verstappen at loggerheads over Lap 1 move

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen did not have the same conclusion about their near-contact on the first lap of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen appear to disagree on their close opening lap encounter at the Australian Grand Prix.

The pair get very close when Hamilton overtook Verstappen at Turn 3 by outbraking the Red Bull driver.

They didn’t quite make contact, despite Hamilton checking his front wing during the first red flag.

“He braked early and I braked late,” Hamilton told the press. “I was fully up the inside and I think we both left space for each other right.

“I didn’t run him off the road and he didn’t turn in on me. We didn’t touch. That’s racing.”

Verstappen was also overtaken by George Russell at the start of the race as the championship leader decided to be more cautious, knowing he had a pace advantage over his rivals.

The Red Bull driver overtook Hamilton after the first red flag and dominated the race to win in Melbourne for the first time, but did not come to the same conclusion as Hamilton.

“From my side, I just tried to avoid the contact,” said Verstappen. “It’s quite clear in the rules what you are allowed to do now on the outside, but clearly it not followed.

“That’s OK. We had good pace and we passed them but it’s something for the next races to take into account.”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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