Lewis Hamilton replacement confirmed as Max Verstappen takes aim at Mercedes ace

Formula One teams are preparing for the final race of 2023 as the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen head off to Abu Dhabi. The penultimate weekend at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix threw up plenty of excitement heading into the season finale.

Verstappen extended his record for most wins by a driver in a single F1 season. The dominant Dutchman is now on 18 victories for the campaign and will fancy his chances of racing to a 19th.

There will be good memories for the Red Bull star as he returns to the venue of his first world championship triumph. He controversially overtook Hamilton on the final lap two years ago and has had the better of the Mercedes driver ever since.

You can follow all the fallout from Las Vegas and the build-up to Abu Dhabi with Express Sport’s LIVE blog, below…

Verstappen takes aim at Hamilton

Max Verstappen has shot back at Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes star complained about ‘negativity’ at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Verstappen had moaned about the glitzy show put on by Las Vegas bosses ahead of the weekend’s racing.

The Red Bull ace said he felt like ‘a clown’ among bright lights and A-list celebrities.

After the race, Hamilton appeared to take exception to Verstappen’s complaints. He said: “I don’t know how much of a spectacle it was for people to watch but there was so much overtaking – it was like Baku but better. I really wasn’t expecting the track to be so great.

“To all those who were so negative about the weekend, saying ‘it’s all about show, blah, blah, blah’, I think Vegas proved them wrong.”

Verstappen has now shot back, claiming that certain drivers get a kick out of disagreeing with him.

“Some drivers do but I think some find it fun to say the opposite of what I say,” the 26-year-old, who won in Sin City, said.

“I’m not gonna drop names, but yeah…”

Hamilton replacement confirmed

Lewis Hamilton will step aside for Mercedes starlet Frederik Vesti for FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Teams must allow a driver with fewer than two Grand Prix races to take part in at least two sessions per season.

Mercedes have only done that once in 2023, with Vesti stepping in for George Russell in Mexico. The 21-year-old Dane will now step in for Hamilton, with the Briton’s place in P3 in the world drivers’ championship confirmed after the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“Driving in FP1 in Abu Dhabi is another step in my career. Getting my first experience of an official session on an F1 weekend in Mexico was a big moment,” said Vesti.

“I learnt so much, and it was great being able to support the team and work with Lewis and George. I’m looking forward to building on that experience at Yas Marina.

“It’s a track I know well and that will no doubt make it easier to get up to speed in the one hour of practice.

“I’m extremely excited to get back behind-the-wheel of the W14 for FP1 and then the post-season test. Once again, I want to say a big thank you to the team for giving me this opportunity.”


Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE updates blog. 

We’ll have all the latest fallout from Las Vegas and all the build-up to the final weekend of the season in Abu Dhabi. 

Be sure to stay tuned. 

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