Jos Verstappen “enjoyed” Max lapping Hamilton at Imola

Jos Verstappen says he “enjoyed” watching his son Max lap F1 rival Lewis Hamilton at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after “everything that happened last year”. 
Jos Verstappen “enjoyed” Max lapping Hamilton at Imola

Hamilton endured awful weekend at Imola and could only finish 13th in Sunday’s grand prix. To add insult to injury, the seven-time world champion was lapped by race winner Verstappen, who also won the sprint to take maximum points from the weekend. 

Following an intense season-long title battle, Verstappen beat Hamilton to the 2021 world championship in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi finale. 

Writing in a post-race column on his son’s official website, Verstappen Sr admitted he took pleasure from seeing the reigning world champion put a lap between himself and Hamilton.

“Max had an excellent weekend in Imola,” wrote Verstappen Sr. “I found him incredibly strong. He didn’t make a single mistake, was solid and completely in control. 

“Red Bull clearly made a step in the right direction. Of course, we knew the car would get an upgrade in Italy, but with the weather conditions it was hard to make a comparison. But we can definitely conclude that we’ve become stronger.

"Saturday during the sprint race, we saw the first glimpses of this. Max caught up with Charles. It meant Ferrari had to push harder, forcing them to use the tires more. 

“In Italy, Max and Red Bull put Ferrari under pressure, and when under pressure, it’s easy to make a mistake. If you are effortlessly leading, that chance is a lot smaller. It turned out to be a perfect weekend for Max.” 

Verstappen later added: "Honestly, I did enjoy seeing Max lap Hamilton, after everything that happened last year. 

"Hamilton really had a tough time, whereas his teammate George Russell seemed to be more balanced. It’s not often you have the opportunity to lap a Mercedes.”

Verstappen himself was quick to downplay the fact he was able to lap his former title rival given the performance difference between the two teams this year. 

“I mean, they've been slow all year so it's not really a surprise or I feel happy lapping Lewis compared to anyone else, but it is what it is,” he said. 

Jos Verstappen “enjoyed” Max lapping Hamilton at Imola

Marko taunts Hamilton 

While Verstappen notched up his second victory of the season to reignite his championship hopes by cutting his deficit to early points leader Charles Leclerc, Hamilton’s woeful start to the year with Mercedes continued in Italy.  

Hamilton has been beaten by Mercedes teammate George Russell in the last three races and currently sits a lowly seventh in the drivers’ championship. 

His nightmare start to 2022 led Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to quip that Hamilton should have retired from F1 at the end of last season. 

When asked what Hamilton must be thinking after Imola, Marko told Sky Sports F1: “I mean he was lapped by us… so, maybe he should have stopped last year, he is thinking, maybe.” 

Despite Mercedes’ struggles this season and writing off his title chances, Hamilton, who has a contract running until the end of 2023, has insisted he has no plans to quit. 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Race
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4,…

“Just because we’ve hit a rough patch, it’s just not in my DNA to back out,” Hamilton said. 

“We are still world champions and we can fix this. It’s just going to take longer, it’s going to take a painful year.

“I think, ultimately, this is going to be a painful year that we’re going to have to ride out together with belief that we can rectify it at some point, maybe through the year or even the worst case scenario, at least for next year.”

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