Nico Rosberg believes that contact between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was unavoidable, while Christian Danner believes the Merc driver needed to show “he’s no chicken.” Formula One’s return to action at the Belgian Grand Prix after the summer break is always exciting, but this year Spa adds a new level of intrigue.
The destructive portion of Hamilton vs Verstappen’s duel is just getting started says Rosberg
Max Verstappen’s two terrible races at Silverstone and the Hungaroring have thrown the World Championship competition on its head, and the Red Bull driver needs to get back on track to reclaim his crown. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has a chance to win his 100th Grand Prix this weekend at the most difficult of all the circuits. Following the disputed incident between the two at Copse during the British Grand Prix, they were unable to fight on the track in Hungary, therefore we may see that battle re-joined in Spa. Hamilton’s former teammate Nico Rosberg said, “As long as no one gets hurt, it’s wonderful.” “For us fans, it’s such an exciting duel to watch because they’re both the best of their generation. They’re the best wheel-to-wheel racers in the world. “When it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing, they know how to push the cars to the ultimate limit. As a result, there will definitely be contact. In Imola, there was already one [before to Silverstone].
Lewis, I believe, is no longer backing out. Max isn’t going to back down. So it’s all very exciting…” Spa is the first in a three-race series that might have a major impact on the World Championship, especially because we don’t know how many events will be held this year due to persistent COVID concerns. It’ll be one of two consecutive events where Verstappen will be surrounded by a fervent fan base, and he’ll be stronger than determined to reclaim his winning form than in Zandvoort. In Belgium, he has yet to win. The title race has taken a dramatic turn for the better. Verstappen led Hamilton by 182 points to 150 at the Austrian Grand Prix, and he now trails the Englishman by 195 points to 187 after just two races. Meanwhile, Red Bull had a 286 to 242 lead over Mercedes, and the Brackley team now leads by 303 to 291. The rival camps’ tensions were exacerbated at Silverstone as Hamilton’s incident pushed Verstappen off the track on the first lap, and the World Champion overcame a 10-second penalty to win. RBR’s efforts to have a harsher sentence imposed retrospectively were in vain.
The debate leading up to the Hungarian Grand Prix was all about what would happen if Hamilton and Verstappen met on the track again. In the end, it was Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes that caused the shunt, which left Verstappen with a crippled car and forced his teammate Sergio Perez to retire from the race. That didn’t help Red Bull’s opinion of Mercedes… As a result, the following edition of Hamilton v Verstappen was moved to Belgium. Given how frequently they have set the pace and outrun their teammates this season, they are likely to be on the front row again this weekend. The enormous Spa provides the ideal venue for such a battle, with actual overtaking possibilities and the weather often playing a factor. It’s not difficult to envision them dueling along the straight to Les Combes at some stage on Sunday. It’s also a location that encourages contact, as both drivers have discovered in the past. Hamilton was eliminated in a pile-up at La Source in 2012, which was caused by Romain Grosjean, while Verstappen was engaged in a collision at the same corner in 2019, which resulted in a crash at Eau Rouge. Then there was 2014, when Hamilton was hit by his then-Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and was forced to retire due to the resulting damage.
Two years later, in Barcelona, the pair had an even more costly incident, which effectively delivered Verstappen his maiden Grand Prix victory. Rosberg went on to win the championship the following year before announcing his retirement. He’s a TV pundit, among his many hats, and he’s enjoying watching the current fight from the sidelines. He claims that there is a foundation of mutual respect. “However, we are not yet at the destructive phase. It’s just getting started, in my opinion. Let’s see where this goes. They might have potentially crashed three turns earlier in Silverstone while heading down the straight. Remember when Webber and Vettel collided in Turkey? It was a nail-biter.
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