Lewis Hamilton called Max Verstappen “aggressive as hell” and appeared to suggest the F1 champion is a bully.
Hamilton and Verstappen were embroiled in a tense rivalry last season and collided on the track numerous times.
In July, they clashed for the first time at the British Grand Prix when Hamilton clipped Verstappen’s rear right wheel as he tried to overtake on the first lap, sending the Red Bull driver crashing into the tire wall.
Hamilton, who was given a 10-second penalty for his role in the collision, went on to win the race.
At the Italian Grand Prix in September, both drivers were then forced to retire early after Verstappen’s car mounted Hamilton’s on a corner after hitting a curb.
Verstappen’s wheel hit Hamilton in the head during the crash, after which the Englishman claimed he was lucky to be alive.
On season four of the popular
show “Drive to Survive,” which releases on March 11, Hamilton hit out at his rival’s driving style.
“I think Max is aggressive as hell,” Hamilton said during episode three, which focuses on the events at Silverstone. “And more often than not, he pushes it to the limit and beyond.
“I’ve raced against a lot of drivers. There is always bullies, but that’s not how I operate. I just try and beat them on track.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 14, 2021
The 2021 F1 season ended in highly contentious circumstances, with Verstappen winning the driver’s championship at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton led the race on the final lap with a safety car out and was on course to win a record eighth title.
However, race director Michael Masi made the unusual call to allow only the five cars between Hamilton and second-placed Verstappen to overtake the safety car, setting up a final-lap shootout between the pair.
Verstappen, who was on fresher tires, overtook Hamilton to win the race and the title.
Hamilton hinted he was ready to retire following the race, which he said was “manipulated” to allow Verstappen to win. However, after Masi was sacked, Hamilton confirmed his return for the 2022 season.
”I never said I was going to stop,” Hamilton said. “I love doing what I do. It was a difficult time for me, a time I needed to take a step back. I had my family around me and created great moments.
”Then I got to a point where I decided to go on the attack again and wanted to work with Toto [Wolff] and George [Russell]. It’s cool to see George come into the team with his energy. I feel that already within the team and look forward to the season.”
The 2022 F1 season commences in Bahrain on March 20.
Season four of “Drive to Survive” is available to stream on Netflix from March 11.
Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.