Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been accused of being “over the top” as he was compared to Max Verstappen after the Dutchman won back-to-back world championships at the Japanese Grand Prix. There have been questions raised over the 2021 title which the Red Bull man pipped the Brit to, though it has been revealed that Verstappen’s team broke the spending cap that year.
A punishment for Red Bull is expected to be a fine for their minor breach, which Hamilton is unlikely to be happy about and he will also not take too kindly to comments made by Dutch racer Renger van der Zande. Hamilton’s overtakes were questioned as Van der Zande claimed that Verstappen now has momentum over the seven-time world champion.
“I come back to Hamilton: I don’t think it’s cool to see, but you wonder if he’s over the top,” Van der Zande told Dutch magazine Formule 1. “His car is less, but his overtakes are no longer as convincing as before, you see doubt in his driving. Perhaps a combination of age and that he has lost momentum.
“Max, on the other hand, is so confident that he can make decisive actions and has a way out if it doesn’t work out. At the same time you know, even with all the good results, that the weather will be bad. After sun comes rain, and vice-versa. I have often experienced this myself and Max will also have it in the back of his mind.
The way Max is dominating this year is very impressive. It’s also funny now to see the difference between Max and Lewis Hamilton. I have often said in recent years: ‘Hamilton has the luck of a champion’.
“That you just hit something with a wing, but it doesn’t break. You can now also see that kind of happiness at times when it matters. A champion’s luck is like being in a casino on a roll; that everything is just fine. That you drive fourth, but the number one and two collide and you still win.
“Or you do an impossible overtaking action that still succeeds, also because people drive against you differently since you dominate. When Max drives behind someone, everyone knows: ‘he’ll pass, it won’t be long’. But with his team-mate Sergio Perez they think: I might have that one.”
The FIA ruled that Red Bull did make a minor breach of the 2021 F1 budget cap, when Verstappen won his first world championship.
A minor breach is an overspend of five per cent of the £127million ceiling, and there have been calls for Hamilton to be awarded his eighth world title after coming so close to the Dutchman.