Hamilton-Verstappen Formula 1 duel gets off to a good start in Texas

Austin, Texas (AP) -The bright red rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton returned to the race track with a flicking insult.

It was only practice, but Friday’s exchange between F1 title candidates took place for the active first day of the US Grand Prix, and that the duel of this championship between Red Bull and Mercedes drivers has just peaked. Shown. season.

Welcome to Texas y’all.

It was only a few minutes of the second practice that I noticed Verstappen and Hamilton lined up in a long straight on the start grid.

Verstappen said he stood there first, but Hamilton sprinted with him to the end, bringing the inner line to the corner. This was a dangerous kind of wheel-to-wheel movement that drivers rarely actually do. These two are especially true, given the history of clashes this season.

Verstappen retreated, but turned Hamilton over with his right middle finger and called Hamilton a “stupid idiot” in a radio message to Red Bull’s garage.

The message from the team was “ignore”.

What happens between the two after the race on Sunday cannot be ignored. Verstappen clings to Hamilton just six points ahead for the season championship while the 24-year-old Dutch is chasing his first championship.

The 36-year-old Hamilton will win seven championships, and the eighth will break most of his relationship with Michael Schumacher in F1 history.

“I don’t know. We’re all lined up to go around and I’m not sure what happened there,” Verstappen said of the clash with Hamilton.

The Texas Race is the first of a two-part swing in North America where the series heads next to Mexico City. Both races were canceled during last season’s pandemic.

Mercedes dominates the Austin track and has won five times since its opening in 2012. Hamilton won four of these races, and teammate Valtteri Bottas won in 2019. Bottas and Hamilton went 1-2 in their first practice on Friday morning.

Verstappen was third behind Mercedes driver in the first session, and the incident with Hamilton in the second practice was another frustration for the Dutch. Verstappen was far off the leader’s pace in the afternoon, with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez being the fastest.

But it wasn’t a smooth voyage in the Mercedes garage. Bottas cars require replacement of the internal combustion unit and will be subject to a grid penalty on Sunday. Hamilton had the same problem two weeks ago, and another engine problem at this stage of the season could have a big impact on the championship.

“You’ll find that this year we’re struggling with credibility,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “We are really trying to get over the problem. The points we lost can be decisive.”

F1 hasn’t seen a tough championship battle since Hamilton lost to teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016. In this series, two teams haven’t fought in the second half of the season since 2012, when Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won late. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Race Weekend is expected to attract a large audience, and Sunday’s race is expected to accommodate 140,000 people. In the United States, the attention and energy of the entire series is increasing, but at COTA the show’s star is Perez.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, he cheered when his car was the first track in the morning and again when he increased the pace of his second practice. He attracted at least 10,000 spectators to a demonstration in downtown Dallas last weekend. This is just a preview of what he’s going to do next week in his beloved Mexico City.

“I don’t feel that far from my people, and the support I receive in the United States is incredible,” Perez said. “No doubt I will be the driver with the most support on Sunday.”

Reports of Michael Andretti’s bid to take over Alfa Romeo off the track continued to flow through the paddock. Andretti Autosport’s American owner and former F1 champion Mario Andretti’s son has been calling out to extend his reach to F1.

Zak Brown, McLaren’s American head, Andretti’s friend and business associate, didn’t reveal how close Andretti was doing.

“What I can say is that he is very serious about Formula One. He loves Formula One,” Brown said. “Obviously, he has a lot of history, including his father being a world champion. It would be great if the names of Michael and Andretti could join F1. Let’s see what happens. “

There is speculation that Andretti will move 21-year-old American IndyCar driver Colton Herta to F1 if he can get the licenses needed to compete. But even without Hertha, there may be an American driver along the way.

Williams said on Friday that he had signed the 20-year-old Logan Sargeant and the Driver Development Academy after spending three seasons in Formula 3.

“We expect him to go up fast,” said Williams CEO Jost Capito. “We will have a good program for him.”

Hamilton-Verstappen Formula 1 duel gets off to a good start in Texas

Source link Hamilton-Verstappen Formula 1 duel gets off to a good start in Texas

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