Lewis Hamilton has indirectly accused his Red Bull rival Max Verstappen of being a ‘bully’ on the F1 track. Hamilton and Verstappen engaged in a rivalry for the ages last season, as the 24-year-old denied him a record-breaking eighth world title in a controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale
But even before the events at the Yas Marina Circuit, the duo fiercely contested a heated battle for the drivers’ crown, involving verbal spats and collisions on the track.
In July’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton touched Verstappen’s right wheel as he tried to cancel out the Dutchman’s pole position in the first lap, sending him into the tyre wall and forcing a retirement from the race.
Then, in September, both drivers had to retire from the Italian Grand Prix after Verstappen’s car mounted his Mercedes rival’s after hitting a curb on a corner, with the 37-year-old claiming he was lucky to be alive after a wheel hit him in the head.
Netflix will showcase all of the drama and the behind-the-scenes reaction in the highly-anticipated season four of Drive to Survive, airing on March 11.
Episode three focuses on Silverstone, where Verstappen started on pole position but retired after a high-speed collision with Hamilton, who went on to win his home race.
Speaking to Netflix in unseen footage, Hamilton described Verstappen as ‘aggressive as hell’ and suggested the Dutchman was a ‘bully’ on the track.
He told Drive to Survive: “I think Max is aggressive as hell. And more often than not, he pushes it to the limit and beyond.
“I’ve raced against a lot of drivers. There is always bullies, but that’s not how I operate. I just try and beat them on track.”
Hamilton also claimed the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was ‘manipulated’ to let Verstappen win, and the 37-year-old hinted he considered stepping away from the sport in the immediate aftermath.
But he’s ready to ‘go on the attack’ in 2022 and claim what he would consider redemption for a record-breaking eighth world title.
”I never said I was going to stop. I love doing what I do,” Hamilton told the upcoming Netflix documentary.
“It was a difficult time for me, a time I needed to take a step back. I had my family around me and created great moments.
“Then I got to a point where I decided to go on the attack again and wanted to work with Toto [Wolff] and George [Russell].
“It’s cool to see George come into the team with his energy. I feel that already within the team and look forward to the season.”
George Russell is under pressure to deliver after stepping into Valterri Bottas’ shoes and becoming Hamilton’s partner after years of Mercedes domination.
Team principal Toto Wolff will hope he has what it takes to help guide the Silver Arrows to a ninth successive constructors’ crown come December.