Max Verstappen sends clear message to rival Lewis Hamilton in Hungary

Max Verstappen sends clear message to rival Lewis Hamilton in opening practice session in Hungary as Red Bull star nips in front of Mercedes man in the pits before going fastest in the wake of bitter row over Silverstone crash

  • Max Verstappen sent a clear message to Lewis Hamilton in FP1 in Hungary
  • The pair collided at Silverstone and a bitter row erupted in the aftermath 
  • Hamilton and Verstappen almost made contact when emerging from the pits
  • The Red Bull star let his speed do the talking as he topped opening practice 

Max Verstappen sent a clear message to Lewis Hamilton as the Red Bull star topped first practice ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday morning.

The Dutchman returned to the track for the first time following his dramatic crash at the British Grand Prix this month, in which his Red Bull collided with Hamilton’s Mercedes on the opening lap. 

Verstappen fumed at Hamilton’s ‘disrespectful’ celebrations following the Briton’s win on home turf, and doubled down on his claims during a tense press conference on Thursday.

Max Verstappen sent Lewis Hamilton a clear message as they emerged from the pits on Friday

And the Red Bull driver made his presence known on Friday as the rivals emerged from the pits at the same time during the first practice session.

Hamilton had emerged from the pit first, before Verstappen came out of his garage moments later. The seven-time world champion came to a halt to avoid a collision with his championship rival.  

Verstappen edged out Valtteri Bottas by just 0.061 seconds, with Lewis Hamilton third in the other Mercedes.

Hamilton, eight points adrift of Verstappen in the championship standings, finished 0.167 sec behind his Red Bull rival.

The Red Bull man returned to the track for the first time since crashing at the British Grand Prix

The 23-year-old let his speed do the talking as he clocked in faster than his rival Hamilton

The Formula One circus is back in action at the Hungaroring, a dozen miles outside of Budapest, 12 days after Hamilton’s 180mph collision with Verstappen on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty for the accident, but the seven-time champion recovered from the punishment to take the chequered flag at Silverstone and reignite his bid for a record-breaking eighth world championship.

Speaking on Thursday, Verstappen was still angry with Hamilton’s victory celebrations after he was taken to hospital following the crash which registered at 51G.

But the 23-year-old, whose team lost their appeal for the penalty to be reviewed, responded by laying down a marker in the opening action of the weekend.

Mercedes will be buoyed by the speed they showed in the opening practice session in Hungary

The slow and twisty circuit is expected to suit Red Bull’s strengths, but both Bottas and Hamilton kept Verstappen honest in the first running to suggest Mercedes should be in a position to fight this weekend.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished fourth, half-a-second back, with Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly fifth. Gasly’s team-mate Yuki Tsunoda crashed out of the session after losing control of his machine through turn five.

The action was temporarily suspended as Tsunoda’s stricken machine was removed from harm’s way.

Lando Norris finished ninth for McLaren, one second off the pace, with George Williams 15th in his Williams. 

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