There still is a lot of controversy hanging around the air after the British GP duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. To recall the events, the two drivers engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle on the opening lap of the GP, that eventually ended in the barriers for the young Dutchman, who has been fighting with the Brit for the championship title this season. He was able to extract himself from the car by himself, but was eventually sent to the hospital for checkups, due to the fact that the impact of his crash reached 51G.
After that, a pretty nasty PR battle emerged between Red Bull and Mercedes, one that still hangs around the air as we enter the last race week before the summer break, the Hungarian GP. It was also due to the fact that despite being handed a 10s penalty for causing the collision, Hamilton was still able to win the GP, which probably caused more controversy than the actual crash.
Hamilton’s ex-teammate and one time world champion Nico Rosberg says that crash reminded him of his own wheel-to-wheel battle in Barcelona 2016, one that had a similar end to the events from last week. In an interview with express.co.uk, the 2016 world champion branded the fight between Hamilton and Verstappen as a “battle of generations”, but said that although it is fairly similar to the one he had with Hamilton in 2016, this time it is less complicated, because the drivers are rivals from different teams, not teammates.
After being asked by the Express if that incident reminded him of Spain 2016, Rosberg replied: “Absolutely yes because I've been there in such a championship battle. Wheel-to-wheel racing, and especially also with Lewis, so yes it did, it did remind me a little bit, but I think in my time it was even more complicated because it's within the same team.”
He continued: “So at least here you have the whole team behind Verstappen, the whole team behind Lewis, and then it’s the team against team and that does make it a little bit different.
“But I mean it's for us fans watching F1, especially once we all saw that he was not injured, and from beyond that then it's just a fantastic battle to follow this, this battle of the generations.”
He added: ”Kind of the star of this generation, against the star of the next generation, is really so, so great fun to watch.”
Regarding the upcoming weekend in Hungary, the team principal of Red Bull Racing Christian Horner noted that Verstappen will be more motivated than ever, even though this weekend might be a different type of challenge for the Red Bull machinery. As he said for the column on Red Bull’s website: “Despite being battered and bruised, he will be more motivated on-track and the positives we can take from the weekend are that last year, we qualified a second off Mercedes.
“This year, we were within a tenth. We had a faster race car and we were able to beat them in the Sprint Race which shows that the team’s monumental effort with the support of Honda, has allowed us to close the gap to the seven-time world champions and the pressure is on them.
“Hungary will be a different challenge for the car and the team and we will all be fully motivated to retain our championship lead. Max won’t dwell on anything from Silverstone and wants to do his talking on-track. He is determined to put this incident behind him and use it as added motivation for the rest of the season, as are we.”
So far Rosberg remains the only driver to beat Hamilton in a direct championship battle since the Brit began his stint at Mercedes. Will Verstappen become the second one, and the first one from a different team to take the title away from Hamilton?