Max Verstappen has dismissed Lewis Hamilton’s ‘dickhead’ jibe following the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The duo tangled on track during the season’s second round, a clash which ultimately forced Verstappen out of the race with a damaged differential.
Reacting to footage of the incident in the anteroom after the race, microphones picked up Hamilton calling the Red Bull driver a “dickhead”.
It was a point picked up in the post-race press conference, at which point race winner Sebastian Vettel stepped in to try and hose down the situation.
“Do you think, if you compare it to football, if you have a microphone on a footballer’s mouth that everything he says is something nice, and it’s a nice message when the guy tackles him and sometimes he fouls him?,” Vettel said by way of explaining Hamilton’s reaction.
“I mean if I hit you in your face, you’re not going to say ‘oh, Sebastian, that wasn’t nice’. It’s a human reaction.”
Hamilton was more circumspect, though suggested the move demonstrated a lack of respect.
“There needs to be a certain respect between drivers,” Hamilton said.
“Maybe I need to go and watch the manoeuvre again, but it didn’t feel like a respectful move.
“It was a silly move for him because he didn’t finish the race and obviously he’s tending to make quite a few mistakes recently. It was unnecessary for him to do that.”
Verstappen though dismissed Hamilton’s initial reaction after being shown footage on Dutch TV.
“He is just out of the car there. Then those things can happen,” he told Peptal on Ziggo Sport.
“If you are just out of the car, you are still full of adrenaline, so yeah.”
While justifying Hamilton’s immediate reaction, Verstappen did defend his decision to attack the Mercedes driver.
“I was really close behind and there was a chance to overtake, so I thought it was a good opportunity,” he explained.
“Our car was great. Then I’m not going to stay behind him.
“I knew we had a very good car for the race, so I knew we would be able to fight them.”
Verstappen suffered a puncture in the battle with Hamilton, which developed into a damaged differential and ultimately spelled his retirement.
It was a double blow for Red Bull, as Daniel Ricciardo was also forced out when his car suddenly lost all electrical power.
F1 heads to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.