Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton shared an intense rivalry throughout the 2021 season, but the mind games between them started way before.
2020’s Bahrain GP took place in the month of November, because of the rescheduling of the calendar due to Covid. The season was already wrapped up, with Hamilton winning his seventh World Title and Mercedes victorious in the Constructors’ Championship yet again.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was the best non-Mercedes driver on the grid that year in terms of performances. Prior to the Bahrain GP, he won just one race that year in Silverstone.
During FP2 in Sakhir, Verstappen made a very sarcastic comment on Hamilton’s driving. The seven-time World Champion was struggling with grip, and was drifting across the track on the turns.
Verstappen took to the team radio to jokingly ask, “Who’s that in front of him? He’s drifting very nicely.” His race engineer replied saying it’s Hamilton but it’s evident that the Dutchman already knew who that was.
Hamilton was really struggling for traction in Bahrain that evening, and repeatedly told his team that he couldn’t manage to find grip.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton going through contrasting F1 season
2021 saw Verstappen and Hamilton fight toe to toe for the Title. It was so close that they couldn’t be separated until the final lap of the final race of the year. The Title ended up in Verstappen’s hand, but it was a battle for the ages.
This campaign however, has been very different. The regulation changes have hit Hamilton and Mercedes hard. And after eight years of dominance, they no longer have the fastest car on the grid. Mercedes’ W13 is also struggling massively with porpoising which has taken a toll on results and also Hamilton’s physical well-being.
Verstappen and Hamilton collide!
The title rivals come together at Copse, pitching Verstappen into a high-speed crash.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
Verstappen on the other hand, picked up right where he left off. After reliability scares in the early stages of the season, the 24-year old has turned the season around and now leads Charles Leclerc by 49 points.
The next round of this year’s Championship takes place at the iconic Silverstone circuit. Last year’s British GP saw the race marred by controversy when Verstappen suffered a 51G impact after making contact with his rival.