Comments made by Lewis Hamilton back in 2011 draw parallel to what Max Verstappen is going through at the moment as the British driver justified his ‘aggressive driving’ style back then.
Over the last few weeks, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has been receiving widespread criticism for his aggressive racing and elbows-out philosophy.
In the title battle between the drivers, Lewis Hamilton is being touted as the more mature driver of the two. While that may be true today, Hamilton was on the receiving end of the very same criticism which Max is facing today back in his McLaren days.
The 2011 season for the British driver was a scrappy one that saw him have multiple incidents with different drivers on the track, most notable were his several clashes with Felipe Massa. He was branded as over-aggressive and some even argued that the 26-year-old might be losing his edge at the time.
After hearing much complaining about his ‘hard racing’, Hamilton decided to address those who had a problem.
“I drive the way I drive, if people have an issue with that, that’s their problem.”
-Lewis Hamilton, 2011
“I think there is a balance. I don’t ever try to be aggressive to endanger anyone. I drive aggressively because my car is not fast enough at times and I have to push and be aggressive.”
He then went on to say something which may have been an inadvertent prophecy from the then one-time world champion.
“If I had a car I could cruise around in, then I wouldn’t have to be aggressive.”
History repeats itself in the form of Max Verstappen
Fast forward to 2021 and let’s compare this to what Max Verstappen said ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which will also be the title decider of the season as both rivals go into the final race on equal points.
“I think I’m racing hard and that I shouldn’t have been penalized for anything in Jeddah,” said the Dutch driver.
Verstappen was antagonised for going off at Turn 4 in Brazil while defending from a charging Lewis Hamilton in what seemed like a rocket ship of a Mercedes. He was also given multiple penalties for his race in the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
“At the end of the day, criticism is always there. But I think for myself, what is unfair is I’m just treated differently than other drivers,” continued Verstappen.
“Clearly other drivers can get away with it and I can’t, and that’s a bit of a problem.”