Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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Max Verstappen vowed to leave F1 by the time he is 40 years old moments after hitting back at abuse since his team orders row at last week’s Brazilian Grand Prix. The 25-year-old Dutchman admitted he was “sure” he would have quit the sport within 15 years after revealing his family members were contacted after last week’s dispute with Sergio Perez.
He made the admission when asked whether the criticism has made him want to leave the sport. Verstappen said: “It’s not only related to that, to be honest, but I won’t be here when I’m 40, that’s for sure.”
However, Verstappen still announced he was not going anywhere for the time being. Earlier in the press conference, Daniel Ricciardo was asked to give a tribute to ex-team-mate Sebastian Vettel ahead of his final race.
The Australian laughed: “When you said former, I thought you were saying Max is hanging it up! You’re not are you?” Verstappen replied: “Not yet.”
Red Bull were embroiled in a team orders row after Verstappen blanked requests to move aside for Perez in Brazil. The constructor wanted the Mexican to finish ahead to secure more points in his battle with Charles Leclerc for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Verstappen claimed he had reasons for not letting Perez through but has not confirmed rumours that it could stem from an incident in Monaco. Instead, the reigning champion attacked journalists and social media users for questioning him after the race in Sao Paulo.
He explained: “So all the things that I’ve read is pretty disgusting. And also, even more than that, they started attacking my family. They were threatening my sister and my Mum, my girlfriend, my dad and for me that goes way too far. Well, you don’t even have the facts, of what actually was going on and that definitely has to stop.
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“If you have a problem with me, that’s fine, but don’t go after my family because that is just unacceptable. But we move on.” Verstappen leaving by the age of 40 would be in contrast to Lewis Hamilton who looks set to sign a new extension.
The 37-year-old Mercedes driver suggested he was ready to sign a new multi-year deal with the Silver Arrows past the end of his current 2023 contract. Team boss Toto Wolff has previously hinted Hamilton could have five more seasons in F1 which would take the seven-time champion well into his early 40s.
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