Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's frosty relation: F1 greats don't speak outside track
'Max and Lewis only speak on the podium, very little,' Verstappen's father Jos said
The Formula One season is headed for an epic finale — Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton going against each other at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sunday's winner-take-all showdown will decide if the British racer, who is gunning for an eighth world championship, overtakes Michael Schumacher's tally of seven, or his Dutch rival wins a maiden crown.
As it turns out, the frosty relationship between Hamilton and Verstappen extends way beyond the Formula One race track as the duo don't speak to each other in real life, the latter's father Jos has revealed. Jos, who is himself a former F1 driver and competed in 107 Grands Prix between 1994 and 2003, was once a team-mate of Michael Schumacher when the German won the first of his seven F1 titles with Benetton in 1994.
Max 'doesn’t get involved in political matters' as Lewis does
“Max and Lewis only speak on the podium, very little,” Jos told the Daily Mail. "When I see Max with other drivers, I think they get on very well. But with Lewis — nothing. Lewis is in his own world. I did F1. Compared to Max I was nowhere, but I talk to some of the drivers and they are all very friendly, or just say hello or whatever. We are on the plane together many times, always the same group of drivers and we have a lot of fun. But there are ‘some’ drivers who don’t look at you, who look at the ground.”
Jos also said that he never spoke Hamilton either but he respected him as a driver. “I never speak to Lewis,” added Jos. “He doesn’t need to speak to me. I’m nothing to him. I respect him as a driver, but the rest — nothing. Lewis does it his own way, which you can’t say is wrong because he wins a lot. Yes, he has had team-mates, but he has been in the right environment. He made the right decision to go to Mercedes and has had the fastest car for a long time. But he is good, for sure. Max is how he is. Some people like it, some people don’t. He says what he thinks but doesn’t get involved in political matters, such as what is happening in other countries, like Lewis does. Max sees it as a case of doing a job as a sportsman and leaving it at that. Everybody does it their way and that is Max’s way.”
Hamilton favored to beat Verstappen
The two best drivers in the world, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, are tied at 369.5 points. Verstappen's 0.3s advantage over Hamilton was a surprise since the latter remains a favorite among most race lovers. Throughout the first two sessions of qualifying, the Mercedes driver held the advantage. However, Verstappen was the one who delivered when pressure was at its highest. "I'm incredibly happy with this," he said after getting out of the car. "This is of course what we wanted. It is never easy, especially with their form in the last few races, but now I'm just looking forward to tomorrow because of course that's the most important thing."
After the session, Hamilton said his car simply wasn't fast enough to challenge the Red Bull. "The last lap was nice and clean, I just couldn't go any quicker," Hamilton said. "I don't know if it's tyre prep or something in terms of the outlap but nonetheless I couldn't beat that time that he did today. He fully deserved the pole."