Formula 1: what did Max Verstappen and his father feel when the pilot took a lap from Lewis Hamilton at Imola

The Imola Grand Prix caused a devastating reality shock for Lewis Hamilton: He doesn’t have a car to compete against Red Bull and Ferrari. In the absence of 19 races, the Formula 1 season could become an ordeal for Mercedes and for the Briton, who far from fantasizing about a hopeful message, accepted the situation. “I’m out of the championship, for sure. There is no doubt about it”, resigned the seven-time world champion, who lost the return against Max Verstappen as they opened lap 41 of 63 on the Italian circuit.

This situation generated a lot of curiosity in the highest category, before the live gaze of the tifossi from the stands. And to think that just yesterday, in the 2021 season and especially in the definition at Yas Marina, both drivers disputed inch by inch every kilometer in the grand prix. On more than one occasion, they even starred in incidents in their unbridled fight for the lead, such as that touch from Hamilton that put the Dutchman out of the race at Silverstone, or the time in Monza, the two machines collided and the Red Bull was mounted on the Mercedes. Miraculously, the halo saved Hamilton’s head.

Last Sunday, in Imola, the race took a very clear course from the beginning, Beyond the initial leading role of Charles Leclerc with Ferrari, the Red Bulls were always in the vanguard, while Hamilton’s Mercedes was left to suffer in the 14th position, in the attempt to reach the positions that deliver points. On that 41st lap, Verstappen’s car reared its nose very close to Hamilton’s rear wing, ready to overtake him. And on the finish line, the Mercedes driver was forced to leave the race leader free. Faced with this panorama, the British surrendered to the evidence and there was not even an attempt to fight against his greatest competitor.

Max Verstappen euphoric after winning at ImolaAlex Pantling – Getty Images Europe

What’s more: Hamilton suffered from overtaking difficulties at Imola – he was unable to overtake Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and watched his team-mate Russell paradoxically move up to fourth place at the end of the test. The last straw for the multi-champion came on lap 40, when he received the most painful message on the radio: “You have a blue flag, it’s Verstappen.”

Predictably, the sorpasso issue came up at the post-GP press conference, with Verstappen narrating how to pass Hamilton: “The Mercedes have been slow all year so I don’t have much to be happy about.” And he added: “It was a great weekend for us, and we needed it, but we didn’t expect to be so successful,” explained the reigning world champion. “It is an incredible result, not only have we done a double, but we have achieved the maximum points for the fastest lap, he said, also valuing the performance of his teammate, the Mexican Sergio“ Checo ”Pérez.

In addition to MadMax’s words, in a column on Verstappen’s official website, his father Jos openly stated that he liked seeing his son doubling Hamilton. “Max had a great weekend at Imola,” Verstappen Sr. wrote. “I saw him incredibly strong. He didn’t make a single mistake, he was solid and had everything completely under control. Red Bull clearly took a step in the right direction. Of course we knew the car would improve in Italy, but with the weather conditions it was difficult to make a comparison. We can conclude that now it is stronger.”

And he added: “Honestly, I enjoyed seeing Max lap Hamilton, after everything that happened last year. Hamilton really had a hard time, while his teammate Russell seemed more balanced. It is not something usual that you have the opportunity to lap a Mercedes.

After the end of the race in Imola, it was heard on the radio toto wolff, director of the Mercedes team, tell the Briton: “Lewis, sorry about this car. It was undrivable and you don’t deserve a car like that.” Hamilton’s impotence for a car that limited his talent to the maximum was evident, since to the Austrian’s apology, the driver replied: “Yes … But we have to keep working.” That phrase from the seven-time Formula 1 champion did not remain an isolated reaction, since over the weekend there was even talk of strong crosses with Wolff, in a scene behind the paddocks. Thus, while Hamilton was encouraged to say that they were not to fight for the title this year, he suffered having watched Verstappen pass him by the side on the track, with no room for maneuver but to resign himself.

Is this the worst car Hamilton has driven in his entire racing career? “There are people who see me and say that I have never driven a bad car, but I can assure you that I have. The 2009 McLaren car is by far the worst car I have ever raced in my Formula 1 career,” said Hamilton, adding: “The W13 is not that close to that experience yet and I think this car has a lot of potential, as did the 2009 McLaren. That year we fixed it and improved it, so we could finally get back in the fight. this time too I have full confidence that my team can do it and let’s go back to the battleHamilton concluded.