Max Verstappen has reignited his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton after claiming his car "is not all horrific" going into this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.
Hamilton has endured a tough start to the season and is currently seventh in the standings – 58 points adrift off leader Charles Leclerc.
The seven-time World Drivers’ Championship winner has finished third, 10th, fourth and 13th in his four races so far this season, prompting Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to brand the car ‘undriveable.’
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Verstappen lapped Hamilton in the last grand prix in Monza, and told the Telegraph: “To be honest, it wasn’t something I was enjoying at the time.
“I was just focused on my race, on getting through the traffic as cleanly as possible and winning. I mean, it wasn’t like I was ‘Oh, I’m lapping Lewis, what an amazing feeling.’
“I had great battles with Lewis last year. Now he’s in a car which is not so great.
“Having said that, of course, George [Russell] does finish fourth in that car. So, it [the W13] is not all horrific right?”
“George probably had a good start and a good clean first lap, and that helps,” he added. “But I’d say [Hamilton’s] car had quite a bit more pace than the midfield traffic.
“But yeah, it was hard to pass. I mean also when there was only one dry line and when you don't have, let's say, a top speed advantage anymore. It makes it a lot harder to judge how far Lewis was off George. But clearly the whole weekend George was doing really well.”
The 24-year-old has a history of questioning the problems which Mercedes have had with their car, after accusing them of ‘sandbagging’ - a tactic where a team deliberately under performs in testing to hide the true extent of the capabilities of their car, in Bahrain.
“I think there are lots of sandbags somewhere in their car,” he joked.
Verstappen heads into Miami after a fantastic weekend in Italy, where he qualified first, won the spring race and then the race itself.
That clean sweep has left him only 27 points behind Leclerc heading into the race in Florida this weekend.
As for Mercedes, Russell’s success compared to Hamilton has prompted plenty of head-scratching. He has finished fourth, fifth, third and fourth in his opening four permanent races.
He is an astonishing 21 points ahead of Hamilton, and many fear that the 37-year-old will not be able to make up that deficit.
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