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Russian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen insists title fight with Lewis Hamilton is not about to get nasty

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Max Verstappen is adamant the fight for the drivers’ title is not about to get nasty despite his clash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

The championship hopefuls came together when vying for the lead in Monza, ending with Verstappen’s Red Bull parked on top of the Mercedes of Hamilton.

Both sides pointed the finger of blame with Verstappen handed a three-place grid penalty for his part in the latest incident between the duo.

Heading into this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, the 23-year-old insisted no animosity would spill over.

“Not from my side,” said Verstappen. “I am pretty chilled about it. It is more the questions I keep getting about it. We are all professional enough to leave it behind us in Monza and continue in Sochi and the races after that.”

Verstappen goes into the weekend with a five-point advantage over Hamilton with seven races currently left on the 2021 calendar.

But the Dutchman was still irritated by the grid penalty dished out, while he could yet be further demoted down the grid should Red Bull opt for an engine change this weekend – one more than their three allotted for the season.

Both penalties would open up the way for seven-time world champion Hamilton to edge ahead in a title race that has the potential to go down to the wire.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“I was surprised to hear the three-place grid penalty myself,” said Verstappen of the Monza incident. “But at the end of the day, it’s what they decided. I don’t agree with it.

“I have my own views of course but we just move on and make the best of it. It is, of course, not ideal but it’s not the end of the world.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, revealed he has been having acupuncture on his neck to treat the injury sustained in the crash, and hit back at suggestions from Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko that he was exaggerating the extent of the problem.

“I don’t really listen to what these individuals talk about,” said Hamilton. “It’s natural when a car lands on your head you’re going to have some sort of discomfort. I definitely felt a bit of pain after the race and then I said I was going to get it checked out.

“I didn’t say I was dying. Of course, I was aware of the fact that in just a millisecond anything can happen and so I did feel grateful to come out of it not badly injured. We move on.”

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