With the eyes of the world bearing down on them every single race weekend, Max Verstappen has felt the need to address a moment during the Emilia Romagna GP weekend with Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time world champion had just claimed pole position for the second race of the season, with Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez qualifying second and the Dutchman qualifying third on the grid.
Whilst waiting in the interview area, Verstappen walked past Hamilton towards where he left his helmet, and bumped shoulders with the Briton.
Hamilton was seen looking back towards Verstappen, but smiled immediately as he approached the interviewer, with the moment seemingly over for both drivers.
But, eagle-eyed social media fans noticed the moment between the pair and began dissecting what it meant, and perhaps tensions were starting to boil over between the two.
And even Verstappen’s father weighed in on the incident.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas signal warning sign
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Speaking to Ziggo Sport, Verstappen Snr said: “If I look at the shoulder bump they gave each other after qualifying at Imola, I think we can expect something this year.
“They are obviously two men who do not want to be beaten by the other.
“Neither of them will let the other push them aside, especially if it will be more and more about the championship.”
Verstappen, though, says that’s reading too much into it, it was nothing more than an “accident”.
Speaking to Dutch magazine Formule 1, he explained: “That was an accident.
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“I thought I left enough room for him, but he was doing his suit up as I walked past him. There is absolutely nothing behind it.”
Hamilton and Verstappen head into round three in Portugal with just a single point between them in the driver’s standings.
And for the first time in his career, the Red Bull driver is in a real title fight in Formula 1.
“It’s still a very long season, so I don’t think about it too much, I just want to do the best job possible every single weekend,” explained Verstappen.
“And of course try to make the least mistakes as possible.
“I always feel confident, that has nothing to do with if you win a race or not, I just hope that we are again very competitive as the last two races.
“But again, every single weekend you just have to make sure you’re on top of the car, to try and get the best out of it, because it’s so close between us and Mercedes, that you really do have to get the best out of it to make a difference and that’s what we’ll try and do this weekend.”
Qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix gets underway on Saturday at 3pm – with both Hamilton and Verstappen looking to snatch pole position ahead of round three on Sunday.
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