Formula 1 fans wanted a show this year, and they’ve got one. Not just on the racetrack, but off it.
While there have been some showbiz performances on both sides, the title rivals have almost been at each other’s throats in interviews with the media.
The Brazilian Grand Prix was a box-office showdown between the pair as Lewis Hamilton stormed back from 10th on the grid to win the race. But the chequered flag was not all he took on the day.
The seven-time world champion was fined for breaching the International Sporting Code rule surrounding seatbelt infringements.
“The driver of the car, Lewis Hamilton, undid his seat belts on the in-lap at the end of the race,” the FIA stewards said in a written ruling.
Hamilton was fined €5,000 for the infringement with a further €20,000 to be paid until 2022.
At the same race, Verstappen touched the rear end of Hamilton’s car after the qualifying session. In what served as a breach of the parc ferme regulations, the Red Bull driver was forced to pay a €50,000 fine for the same.
The disparity in their fines stuck with Verstappen.
“I’m not allowed to touch a rear wing anymore, that’s for sure. If you do, you have to pay a big fine, but apparently, it’s cheaper to drive without the belts. So I’ll think about it,” he said in an interview with DAZN.
With two races to go in the 2021 season, eight points separate the title rivals as they head for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Verstappen will have the opportunity to secure a first driver’s championship title, but Hamilton will be looking to add a record eighth title to his name.
In what is being hailed as the world’s fastest street circuit, F1 claims the cars could hit a top speed of 322 km/h, a number that promises a mouth-watering clash at Jeddah.