Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen “don’t have a connection” due to a “generational” divide between the two F1 stars, according to David Coulthard. The former driver turned pundit said there was not the same spark between Hamilton and Verstappen compared to other drivers on the grid, such as Lando Norris and George Russell.
The bitter rivalry between the pair exploded into life during last season’s title battle while they came together on three separate occasions. Verstappen and Hamilton have continued to make subtle digs at each other this season despite not battling for the championship.
Both drivers revealed they had raced Charles Leclerc cleanly without a crash one year on from their 51G shunt at Copse. In Austria, the Dutchman swiped back at Hamilton’s track limits complaints, moaning: “When you’re 37 years old, at some point you understand how to get to an apex.”
However, fans’ tribal support for their favourite driver has seen tensions boil over between spectators trackside. There were several reports of abuse from the Austrian Grand Prix with some fans hit with homophobic abuse and some sexual advances.
One fan claimed much of the abuse centred around rivalries with reports some Max Verstappen fans were insulting those wearing Mercedes merchandise. Coulthard has now urged both drivers to unite in a bid to stamp out the aggressiveness between rival fans.
He told Channel 4: “I actually would like to see them both get their arms around each other’s shoulders and make a statement to the fans of Formula 1 because we heard some booing for Max at Silverstone – I really don’t feel comfortable with that in Formula 1. I’m all for who you want to support, but let’s be sporting, let’s make this something which is respectful.”
Both drivers condemned fans’ actions over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, with Hamilton saying he was “disgusted” by the reports.
In a social media post, the Briton added: “Disgusted and disappointed to hear that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behaviour at the circuit this weekend.” Verstappen defended Hamilton, admitting he was also “shocked” at the issues fans experienced.
He commented: “I shouldn’t even need to say this, I think this should be a general understanding that these things shouldn’t happen. A normal human being should think like that and should behave like that.”