Max Verstappen’s temper flared during the official FIA press conference following Saturday’s qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix when he was asked if there was likely to be another on-track clash with Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.
Hamilton will start tomorrow’s race on pole with Verstappen lining up in third but on quicker tyres for the first lap, meaning the pair could once again be wheel-to-wheel into turn 1 just like Silverstone.
“Can we just already stop about this?,” Verstappen snapped when asked by mediator Tom Clarkson if this meant there could be more drama. “We’ve so many f**ing questions about this, it’s just ridiculous.
“Honestly, the whole Thursday we’ve been answering this stupid s**t all the time so can we just stop about it, please?
“We are racers, we will race, and of course we’re going to race hard but fair,” he continued. “So we just keep pushing each other.”
In the wake of their accident at the British GP two weeks ago, Hamilton was the target of boos and jeers after qualifying – which Verstappen was not happy about.
“It’s not correct of course,” he said. “But at the end of the day I think we are drivers and you shouldn’t get disturbed by these kind of things.
“You should anyway just focus on what you have to do and that’s deliver in the car,” he suggested. “Luckily of course we wear helmets actually when you’re driving, so where it matters you don’t hear anything. That’s maybe a bit different to other sports.”
Verstappen admitted that Red Bull haven’t been able to match the pace of Mercedes so far this weekend. “It’s always difficult to say the gap,” he said.
“The whole weekend so far we’ve been a bit behind and it showed again in qualifying,” Verstappen admitted. “Of course it’s not what we wanted but nevertheless we’re still there in P3, and we’ll see what we can do.
Red Bull caused a stir in the second round of qualifying by switching both Verstappen and his team mate Sergio Perez to soft tyres following a red flag stoppage for Carlos Sainz.
Both drivers will now start the race on the faster but less durable compound, with Mercedes keeping Hamilton and Bottas on the medium rubber.
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It could give Verstappen the edge at the start, but also force an earlier pit stop – and possibly mean he will make an extra stop compared to his rivals.
“It is of course going to be different, the grip was quite a bit higher on these tyres,” he acknowledged. “Naturally a softer tyre will not last as long as the medium, but nevertheless it will give us a good opportunity off the line.”
Verstappen explained that the late switch to soft tyres was a genuine reaction to the improving times of the midfield teams opting to run on the red-walled options.
“The others also were on the soft and they were improving their lap times,” he insisted. “My lap time on the medium would have really been on the edge for the top ten, so we decided to finish the last lap.”
As to whether it’s the right call for tomorrow, Verstappen said only time would tell. “We’ll find out tomorrow, it’s going to be really hot!”
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