Lewis Hamilton has taken a subtle dig at Max Verstappen as he reacted to Red Bull’s car design. The seven-time champion took a swipe at “the big ugly number one” on Verstappen’s car after the Dutchman beat Hamilton in controversial fashion at the end of the 2021 season. Verstappen then put the No 1 on his 2022 car to commemorate the achievement.
However, the Briton laughed after making the comment and joked that he “doesn’t really care”. Verstappen secured his first world title after stealing Hamilton’s lead on the final lap of the last race back in December last year.
Hamilton enjoyed a commanding lead before a late race safety car saw his hopes of an eighth world title come crashing down. Reacting to the race a year on, Hamilton told Channel 4: “It was definitely not easy. I think it’s more the big ugly number one, as big as you can put it on the car. Nah, I’m kidding.
“I’m not as phased as much as some people like to think. They will say things to do things looking for a reaction but I really just am chill. I don’t really care about those things.
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“Of course, I’d have loved to have been at the forefront fighting and battling with them, but it’s been an interesting journey seeing what they’ve been going through. It’s been interesting.” After the incident in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton claimed the race was “being manipulated”.
He has since doubled down on his stance in a recent interview as he claimed someone had made a decision to end the championship in Verstappen’s favour. The FIA since blamed human error for the incident and sacked race director Michael Masi.
But, Hamilton has been unable to fight back in 2022 due to Mercedes’ performance struggles throughout the campaign. Hamilton has also opened up on how he battled through the year despite the pain of the year before still raw.
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He explained: “I was definitely not expecting what would come after, in terms of the amazing support from fans of the sport, but particularly my fans. The general love I have experienced through the year, which I think has got me through the year.
“With the challenge of coming back in, wanting to fight back and not being able to fight back with the car we’ve had. We’ve experienced more love and affection than ever before.”