Max Verstappen called Lewis Hamilton a “stupid idiot” during a highly charged flash point in practice for the United States Grand Prix.
The Dutchman then raised his middle finger at his title rival after they went wheel-to-wheel down the main straight. “Ignore it,” urged Verstappen racing engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.
Clearly disturbed, Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by six points before the last six races, then aborted his program because he was stuck in traffic.
Max Verstappen (left) went off the track coming out of the last corner with Lewis Hamilton close behind.
The duo then battled for track position and headed down the main straight in practice.
“I’m boxing,” said the Red Bull star, who then pitted.
‘We are going to do the long runs here. I’ve already made it through these short races. ‘
Verstappen finished the day eighth fastest due to his lack of running. His side serve Sergio Pérez set the pace, with Hamilton third, one place behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Later, Verstappen, who went off the track in his encounter with Hamilton, said: “We were all lining up to do our laps, so I don’t really understand what happened.”
Bottas is taking a new engine that takes it to the grid and, more importantly, it raises questions about the reliability of Mercedes’ power overall. If Hamilton needs another new engine, it could drastically affect the outcome of the season.
Lewis Hamilton finished Friday’s practice with the lead over title rival Max Verstappen
Hamilton (above) finished a spirited second session being third fastest for Mercedes at the US Grand Prix.
Another unknown factor is the Covid threat. No one who tested positive would be allowed to run. Verstappen, who so far has not contracted the virus and wears a mask avidly, said: ‘I try not to think too much about it. I can’t lock myself at home all the time. If you get it, you get it and you are very unlucky.
“There are people who have been very strict about it and still have it, so I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
This race marks the first time since the 11-hour cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix last year that journalists have been allowed to travel in team motorhomes.
McLaren, always the most welcoming of hosts, offered glasses of wine and beer to celebrate the historic breakthrough.
Its driver, Lando Norris, looked grim behind his mask. His eyes ached as he battled fatigue and illness brought on by a severe cold.
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez was Red Bull’s fastest at the Circuit of the Americas
US GRAND PRIZE – PRACTICE TWO
1 Pérez (Mex) Red Bull 1: 34.946
2 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1: 35.203
3 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1: 35.310
4 Bottas (End) Mercedes 1: 35.360
5 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1: 35.457
6 Ride (can) Aston Martin 1: 35.561
7 Leclerc (Monday) Ferrari 1: 35.572
8 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1: 35.824
9 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari. 1: 35,919
10 Giovinazzi (Ita) A. Romeo 1: 36.138
11 Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1: 36.158
12 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1: 36.242
13 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1: 36.376
14 Raikkonen (End) A. Romeo 1: 36.558
15 Vettel (Germany) Aston Martin 1: 36.718
16 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri 1: 36.983
17 Schumacher (Germany) Haas 1: 37.041
18 Latifi (Can) Williams 1: 37.254
19 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1: 37.490
20 Mazepin (Raf) Haas 1: 38.026
He guaranteed that he will be fine for running, as adrenaline is the therapeutic remedy that it is, but admitted that he found it difficult to sleep within the six-hour time difference.
However, he was pleased to be named, 21, in this week’s fan poll as the second most popular driver in the world behind Verstappen, and the favorite among female audiences.
Verstappen, hiding any joy he might feel at being ranked so high, joked: ‘My life is complete. It’s good that they voted for me. I guess they like my driving style, and people might appreciate that I’m straightforward, honest, and myself. ‘
Verstappen can also be belligerent. Tells it like it is. Timo Glock, the former Toyota official whom Hamilton passed under dramatic circumstances to win his first world title in 2008, suggested last week that the Dutchman would have hit the British star after his collision at Monza, for the second time this season, if i had been a few years younger and rawer.
Bottas (left) topped the morning timesheets with Max Verstappen (right) just a distant third for Red Bull during the first practice session before falling to eighth in the afternoon.
Would I have done it?
Verstappen added: ‘I’m getting older and more experienced, but I don’t necessarily think I would have hit Lewis earlier.
‘Nobody likes to be together in the race, but sometimes these things unfortunately happen. They have it in karting and in F1.
‘We all have bad times with someone, but we are human beings and we can move on. We can forgive. ‘
That was before practice.
Hamilton hopes his form from Friday carries over into the rest of the weekend.
US GRAND PRIZE: PRACTICE ONE
1 Bottas (End) Mercedes 1: 34.874
2 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1: 34.919
3 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1: 35.806
4 Leclerc (Monday) Ferrari 1: 36.334
5 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari. 1: 36.508
6 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1: 36.611
7 Pérez (Mex) Red Bull 1: 36.798
8 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1: 36.855
9 Giovinazzi (Ita) A. Romeo 1: 36.874
10 Raikkonen (End) A. Romeo 1: 36.876
11 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1: 36.966
12 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1: 36.970
13 Ride (can) Aston Martin 1: 36.972
14 Vettel (Germany) Aston Martin 1: 36.982
15 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1: 37.068
16 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1: 37.458
17 Latifi (Can) Williams 1: 37.463
18 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri 1: 37.954
19 Schumacher (Germany) Haas 1: 38.866
20 Mazepin (Raf) Haas 1: 42.239