Max Verstappen has claimed that Lewis Hamilton had “no intention” of giving him space as the two collided in the 2022 Brazilian GP in an incident which earned the Red Bull driver a 5 second time penalty.
Verstappen suffered damage during the incident, when he tried to go around the outside of Hamilton at Turn 1 before the gap narrowed and the two came together, with the officials ultimately putting the blame for the crash with the Dutchman.
The coming together cost Verstappen a shot at victory as he was forced to pit to replace his front wing and he eventually came over the line in sixth.
Speaking to media after the race, Verstappen said it was clear that Hamilton had no intention of leaving racing room, but that Red Bull also lacked the overall pace to challenge the Mercedes pair for the win in Sao Paulo.
“We just had no pace as soon as I tried to push a little bit on the tires. It was the same story as yesterday where I was just degrading too much. And we tried a few different things today, but it never really seemed like it was actually doing a lot for the overall performance,” Verstappen told reporters after the race.
“We talked about the incident going on outside at Turn 1. I just felt that as soon as I was going next to him, he had no intention to leave me space. And I said okay, if you don’t leave me space we just are going to collide.”
Echoes of 2021
Verstappen said that the collision also ruined any chance Hamilton had of chasing down teammate George Russell for the win, adding that after the pair’s duel for the 2021 championship he thought they would have been able to race closely without incident.
“At the end of the day, we were too slow,” Verstappen Anyway, for him, it ruined his chance to win the race. Of course, with the safety car he still had an opportunity.
“But I thought after last year, we maybe forget about it, we can fight in any race, you know, because first of all, when I went side by side, I thought, okay, let’s have a good race.
“But you can see with a driver if he’s going to leave space or not. And there was zero intention to leave me space.”