SHANGHAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Max Verstappen has accused Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton of taking the easy option in blaming him for their collision in Bahrain last weekend.
The 20-year-old Red Bull driver also told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix on Thursday that he would not be doing anything different as a result of the incident.
Asked why Mercedes’ four times world champion had blamed him, Verstappen replied: “Why? Because it’s quite simple and easy to blame the younger driver. That’s the only way I can see it.”
Verstappen and Hamilton collided on the second lap of last Sunday’s floodlit race at the Sakhir circuit when the Dutchman dived down the inside of the 33-year-old Briton in an attempt to take 10th position.
Hamilton went on to finish third but the coming together punctured a tyre on Verstappen’s car, eventually damaging the gearbox and forcing him to retire.
“You know, that’s racing,” said Verstappen comparing his move in Bahrain to a similar one that he pulled off in Mexico last year on the way to victory.
“Why should I change something? I was just trying to overtake a car. Last year in Mexico it could have gone wrong as well, maybe for me, maybe for another car. As you could see...it didn’t,” he added.
“I don’t understand why everybody is on top of the topic because those things happen in racing.”
Verstappen has taken Formula One by storm since making his debut as a 17-year-old with the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team in 2015.
His speed, aggression and racecraft have won him many admirers but also led to run-ins with some of his rivals, most notably Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton, however, had always spoken of the man he sees as a future champion in glowing terms.
The Briton was heard swearing in reference to Verstappen, however, as he watched replays of the incident before the podium celebrations and later accused the Red Bull driver of lacking respect.
He went on to suggest Verstappen’s inexperience was costing the former champions crucial points.
When asked if he would talk to Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s race in Shanghai, Verstappen left the possibility open.
“I might have a talk with him, depends if it’s really necessary,” he said (Editing by Alan Baldwin)