Hamilton: Verstappen fallout was 'fake'

Lewis Hamilton has called on himself and Max Verstappen to end the “fake” row that has grown between them in recent weeks.

Tensions between two of the biggest stars on the Formula 1 grid were raised when Hamilton said Verstappen “torpedoed” him on the first lap of the Mexican GP, something that the Dutchman said proved he was in the champion’s head at the United States GP a week later.

Before sealing his sixth world title at COTA, however, Hamilton revealed he offered the olive branch to Verstappen, a racer he expects to secure title glory of his own in the years to come.

Hamilton told Channel 4: “I spoke to Max even before the race and I was like, ‘Dude you’re such a great racer, man. Let’s just squash whatever there is between us because it’s just fake, it’s nothing. Whatever beef [there is] let’s just get rid of it. Let’s go out there and have a great race’.

“He’s a champion of the future and I’m going to work as hard as I can to stop that happening for a while, but I’m enjoying racing with him.”

Another of Hamilton’s rivals, Sebastian Vettel, made a beeline for the cooldown room to congratulate the new champion post-race.

Although the pair have had their tense moments, Hamilton says there is now a great understanding between them.

“Me and Seb have a huge amount of respect for each other and I think it’s grown over time,” he said.

“We both have been at the forefront of the sport and both appreciate just how hard it is individually for us to do what we do.

“Also, over time… Seb does his thing his own way, I do it my own way and we respect that about each other.

“There’s no judgement there and I think its these tough battles that we’ve had together last year have brought us closer in that respect.

“It means a huge amount to have respect from other drivers.”