F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Max Verstappen has vowed to “fight until the end” as his title fight with Lewis Hamilton remains on a knife edge going into this week’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. He said: “We’re in the lead of the championship and we’re going to fight until the end. “Everyone is very motivated for that. It’s a new track. We don’t know the grip levels. A lot of things can happen on a street circuit anyway.
“We just have to try to put a good car on the track, and then of course you need to get comfortable driving as well because the track layout is very quick and not a lot of room for error.
“It’s a special track. We don’t really know what our competitors are going to do. We always try to do the best we can.”
The young Dutchman is just eight point ahead of Hamilton with two races remaining – their rivalry has been tense this season.
This was evident when the two drivers collided at Silverstone in July.
Going into the high speed Copse corner, Hamilton tapped the inside of Verstappen’s Red Bull car, which ended up in the barriers and out of the race.
Hamilton won despite being handed a 10 second penalty for the incident – but Verstappen’s father Jos claimed the Briton should have been disqualified.
He told publication De Telegraaf: “It’s really not acceptable what he [Hamilton] did.
“I think a 10 second penalty is really ridiculous. As far as I am concerned they should have just disqualified him.
“Max gives him space and is just in front of him. You can’t overtake on the inside.”
Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner accused Hamilton of endangering Verstappen’s life in the 180mph collision.
Hamilton responded himself to Horner’s claims, saying he will continue to race “hard but fairly”.
In a tweet, he said: “Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear he is OK.
“I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there. It’s a dream to win in front of my home crowd.”
He also dismissed Horner’s criticism, saying: “I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. The win doesn’t feel hollow.
“I don’t think I am in a position to have to apologise for anything. We are out there racing.
“I don’t agree with the stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I am not going to whine about it.”
Verstappen also accused Hamilton of being “disrespectful” for celebrating the win while he was left in hospital after the collision.
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Hamilton responded: “I didn’t know he was in hospital. Honestly, no it doesn’t [take a shine off it]. This is racing.
“Of course I would love to be able to race and us to leave each other space and there is plenty of space on the track for us to get around and manage for a long time without colliding with someone.
“But when someone is just too aggressive, these things are bound to happen and there’s not a single driver here that doesn’t know how aggressive a driver can be.
“There’s not really much more for me to say. I hope he’s OK. Of course I would love to have a wheel to wheel battle for the whole race.
“I enjoy racing with him, but I would never back down from everyone and I would not be bullied into being less aggressive.
“Today, this weekend, we needed the points, there was a gap, he left a gap and I went for it.”
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