F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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World championship leader Lewis Hamilton has been blasted by Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart amid his title battle with Max Verstappen. Mercedes star Hamilton recovered to finish second in the Hungarian Grand Prix and overtake Verstappen in the standings.
The seven-time world champion had looked on course for a win following a first corner incident caused by team-mate Valtteri Bottas which severely damaged Verstappen’s Red Bull car.
That crash saw the race red flagged but at the restart, Hamilton failed to change to dry tyres which left him last on the grid.
The 36-year-old delivered a stunning drive to climb back into the podium places and he was promoted to second after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification.
With his car practically undrivable, Verstappen was only able to come home ninth with not enough points to prevent Hamilton taking the championship lead.
The battle between them has hotted up in recent weeks, after Hamilton took out Verstappen on the first lap of the British Grand Prix.
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A war of words was unleashed in the aftermath of that crash, with Hamilton handed a 10 second time penalty by the stewards for his role in the incident.
Despite the penalty, the Briton was still able to win the race, infuriating Verstappen and Red Bull who saw their lead in the standings eroded.
Tensions were reignited again in qualifying at the Hungaroring when Hamilton deliberately drove slowly in the pit lane with Verstappen behind him.
The sport will now take a summer break with Hamilton back at the top of the world championship.
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But three-time world champion Stewart has cautioned Hamilton for his driving over the first half of the season.
“Lewis’ incident with Verstappen was very disturbing for me. Frankly, if that had been in my day and well after my day, Verstappen would’ve been killed,” he told talkSPORT.
“The race track has been made so safe, the run-off areas so big, and the structures that he [Verstappen] finally came to a stop on and even then, the g-forces were enormous.
“I think that was a great example of what Silverstone have done to make the track safer.”
The Scot, who raced for BRM, Matra, March and Tyrrell over the course of an eight-year F1 career, also blasted the championship rivals for “taking liberties”.
“People are taking more liberties today than they were before because the penalties are not so large. Now it’s so safe that I think people are taking too many chances,” Stewart added.
“The early laps at Silverstone was a good example of that because I think both drivers were overdriving, particularly when you think about it being only the beginning of the race.
“We’ve got to readdress that and sadly it sometimes takes a big, big action or even a life to make that come to real understanding.”
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