Lewis Hamilton gave George Russell the cold shoulder in a tense moment after the Dutch Grand Prix with the seven-time world champion only managing fourth in the end despite leading with just over 10 laps to go. Hamilton was furious on team radio in the final few laps of the race, accusing Mercedes of ruining his race entirely.
And he clearly had some ill-feeling towards team-mate Russell, who pitted for softs at the end and left Hamilton exposed to Max Verstappen at the restart. The British superstar was powerless at the restart to keep Verstappen at bay, with the Red Bull driver quickly regaining the race lead into the first corner.
Russell then needed just a few laps to push Hamilton down to third before the latter’s race was compounded even further when Charles Leclerc was able to take him for the final podium spot. Sunday’s race was expected to be a close affair with Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari all matching each other’s pace over the weekend.
Max Verstappen dominated in Spa last weekend, but he was up against it this time around at his home track and it looked at one stage to be Hamilton’s race to lose. Mercedes had started Hamilton on the medium tyre, indicating they were going for a one-stop strategy.
Red Bull and Ferrari were then powerless to Mercedes’ dominance with Hamilton and Russell picking off their rivals as they pitted for a second time. Verstappen was staying out though and found some huge fortune when Yuki Tsunoda pulled up on the side of the track to bring out a Virtual Safety Car.
Verstappen and Hamilton then both used the opportunity to pit, but the VSC meant the Dutchman didn’t lose any time and basically got a free pit stop to maintain the lead. That looked to be the end of it with Hamilton forced to chase Verstappen on the medium compound with 20 laps remaining.
But the race was to get even worse for Hamilton after Valtteri Bottas stopped on the track at the end of the pit straight. A full Safety Car was deployed with Verstappen coming in to pit for softs.
Mercedes originally saw an opportunity to keep both Hamilton and Russell out, pushing them ahead of Verstappen for the end of the race. The Mercedes duo were both on mediums, meaning they were going to face a battle to keep Verstappen behind.
But in a strange turn of events, Mercedes allowed Russell to pit for softs after the 24-year-old complained on team radio. Hamilton was seemingly unaware originally, but he meant Verstappen was behind him at the restart instead of his team-mate Russell.
And he launched a furious rant on team radio accusing Mercedes of ruining his race. “I can’t believe you guys **** **** me, can’t tell you how **** I am,” he shouted on the team radio.