Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s crashes could be “intentional” in a bid not to give the other a psychological advantage, according to BBC Sport commentator Jack Nicholls. The pundit suggests the pair would rather come together than give up space and lose out to the other, despite them not battling for the title in 2022.
The pair came together at the Brazilian Grand Prix after both Verstappen and Hamilton refused to give up space at the entrance to turn two. This saw the Red Bull’s front left tyre make contact with Hamilton’s rear right, sending the Mercedes briefly airborne.
It comes after the two drivers came together on four occasions in 2021 as the title fight went down to the wire. Nicholls told the BBC’s Chequered Flag Podcast: “Sometimes it feels like, this is a bit hyperbolic to say, but sometimes it feels like Verstappen – and also maybe now Hamilton – would rather have a collision than give up to the other one.
“It feels like we’re sort of at that level, maybe that’s a bit dramatic for me to say they know.” However, the comments were backed up by Williams reserve driver Jack Aitken who was a guest on the show.
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“You just have to win every time, every corner, every time you go side by side because it’s such a blow when you don’t, you know it has a bigger picture. And I wonder if that’s not the reason why Verstappen is a little bit more… I think he is a little bit more gentle with [Charles] Leclerc.
“Gentle is probably over-egging it a little bit, he’s still going for are harder to it but they don’t collide. Respectful because I don’t think he sees Leclerc as a threat in the same way that he sees Hamilton.”