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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has sent a tongue-in-cheek message to the other drivers on the grid, suggesting he “needs to buy them all glasses” after two near misses during practice for the United States Grand Prix.
On Friday, the championship leader had a run-in with his main title rival Lewis Hamilton, who overtook the Dutchman in practice for the United States Grand Prix in Austin.
The 24-year-old branded Hamilton a”stupid idiot” and flicked his middle finger up at him after the pair went wheel-to-wheel at the Circuit of the Americas. Red Bull race engineer Giampiero Lambiase responded “ignore it, don’t worry about it”.
Verstappen then had a second run-in with the two Haas drivers, who were going about their business, unaware of a charging Red Bull is coming up behind them, prompting the pit wall to ask: “Need I ask what happened?”
“I need to buy people glasses,” responded Verstappen.
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However, afterward, Verstappen explained what happened during the Hamilton incident, claiming he wasn’t sure what had gone on.
“I don’t know, we are all lining up to go for our laps so I don’t really understand what happened there,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“Overall, it’s not easy out there, the track is quite bumpy, and to try and find the right compromise with the car hasn’t been the easiest so far.
“But there are a few positive things to look at and we’ll continue to work on that also overnight.
“It didn’t feel particularly bad on the short run, it was just a mess with the traffic.”
Verstappen’s boss Christian Horner described the clash as “playground activity” as the teams collected as much data as they could ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.
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“I think there’s not too much to read into it,” Horner said on Friday.
“It’s like playground activity really. So, obviously, Max had passed Lewis earlier in the lap, Lewis then obviously felt that he wanted to pass Max at the end of that lap, and then they drove around, drove down to the first corner.
“Then it all got a bit messy. I think Max indicated that he would have been first on the road. So I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
Horner continued: “He [Verstappen] didn’t get to put a lap in, in its entirety.
“I think we had enough information that he’d be comparable, in Sector 1. He aborted at Turn 12. So we had enough info with what we’d seen so far.”
Verstappen currently leads the way by six points heading into the race on Sunday, with just six races remaining in the battle to be crowned world champion this season.
Qualifying gets underway at 10pm, with lights out on Sunday at 8pm.
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