The needle between 2021 title enemies Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen continues to race on.
They may not be locked in a repeat of last year’s ultra-intense championship battle, but that didn’t stop Hamilton’s British fans from booing Dutchman Verstappen a week ago at Silverstone.
And in Austria, attended by some 50,000 Dutch fans, the crowd cheered when Hamilton crashed out of qualifying.
“We need to speak more to the fans cheering when a car is in the wall or booing a driver who gives an interview,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
But the latest animus has been powered by a continuing war of words between Hamilton and reigning world champion Verstappen, who is 24.
For instance, after Silverstone, Hamilton marvelled at the way he was able to scrap with Charles Leclerc at Copse corner and not crash in the way he did with Verstappen a year earlier.
“He is a very sensible driver,” Hamilton said of Leclerc. “Clearly a lot different to what I experienced last year.”
Verstappen hit back: “I think Charles gave him less space than me last year, so that says it all,” Verstappen replied.
“But I think it’s pretty good that at the age of 37 you can still learn to take an apex. It’s good for young drivers to know as well that you can still learn at 37,” he quipped.
Verstappen also slammed Hamilton’s suggestion that the 2022 Red Bull has a flexible floor, insisting that Mercedes’ is “the most flexible” on the grid.
In a fun off-track activity, meanwhile, Verstappen nominated Hamilton as the “biggest showoff” in Formula 1.