Max Verstappen has responded to criticism from Lewis Hamilton following their clash at the Bahrain Grand Prix, saying it is “easy to blame the younger driver.”

Hamilton was heard calling Verstappen “a dickhead” in the drivers’ cool down room before the podium ceremony after viewing a replay of an incident between himself and the Red Bull driver during the early stages of last weekend’s race.

The pair made contact on the exit of Turn 1 after Verstappen had dived down the inside of Hamilton but appeared to try and squeeze the Briton. Hamilton’s front wing clipped Verstappen’s left-rear wheel, leading to a puncture and damage that forced the Dutchman into retirement. 

Hamilton labelled the move as “unnecessary” but Verstappen shrugged off the reigning world champion’s criticism when the subject was brought up in the drivers’ press conference ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. 

“It’s quite simple and easy to blame the younger driver. That’s the only way I see it,” Verstappen said. "But that’s racing, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You can say whatever you like about the incident, I think I had a fair shot at it. 

“It was nothing crazy, nothing risky. Unfortunately this time it didn’t work out. Looking back, for example in Mexico last year, it did work out. 

“This time we gave each other maybe not enough space but that’s racing at the end of the day and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.”

And Verstappen said he has no plans to seek out Hamilton in order to talk over the incident, adding he will not change his approach in Shanghai

“I might have a talk with him if its really necessary. but why should I change something? I don’t think I did anything wrong in terms of my approach. 

“I was just trying to overtake a car and I think it was a fair chance - I went for it. It’s racing, it’s very simple. I don’t understand why everyone is so on top of the topic, because these things happen in racing.”

During the fan autograph signing session and pit lane walk on Thursday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton and Verstappen shook hands in a public show of reconciliation.

 

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