Max Verstappen is adamant he left Lewis Hamilton enough room in their clash during the early stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix and was surprised the Briton went unpunished. 

Starting from 15th on the grid following his crash in Q1, the Dutchman made a fast start and was soon challenging Hamilton for ninth position on the second lap in Sakhir

Verstappen dived down the inside of Hamilton into Turn 1 and looked to have made the move stick, before appearing to move across the Mercedes driver as the pair ran side-by-side through the corner, resulting in contact between Hamilton’s front-right and Verstappen’s rear-left. 

The Dutchman received a puncture and damage to his RB14 which ultimately proved terminal as he retired shortly after, while the stewards opted no further action was necessary following the incident. 

“I had a good run onto the straight, going for the inside under braking I was next to him, going into the corner I was ahead. Of course you always try and squeeze each other a bit,” Verstappen explained.

“I think there was still enough space on the left but he drove into my left rear and gave me a puncture and also destroyed my differential.”

When asked if he felt the stewards decision was a fair one, Verstappen replied: “From my side not. But at the end of the day if they did do something my race is over anyway.”

Hamilton, who recovered from ninth to finish third behind teammate Valtteri Bottas and race-winner Sebastian Vettel, labelled the contact as “silly” and “unnecessary”.

“We collided, he ran me out of road in Turn 1. I felt at the time was just unnecessary to do so,” Hamilton told reporters after the race.

“He was past, there was no need to push by, for me it was frustrating as it could have been me out of the race through a relatively silly manoeuvre. 

“There was not much I could do to avoid him from hitting me there. It was a bit unnecessary but these things happen, [it was] a racing incident. But in the heat of the moment you can get frustrated.”

 

 

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