Lewis Hamilton says he does not agree with McLaren boss Andrea Stella’s stance that Max Verstappen’s aggressive driving is a result of him not punished enough for how he raced during their 2021 F1 title battle, writes Lewis Larkam at Silverstone. 

After Verstappen and Lando Norris came to blows while fighting for the lead in the closing stages of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, McLaren team principal Stella claimed that the Dutchman’s continued approach to hard racing is a consequence of him not being sufficiently penalised for similar incidents with Hamilton in 2021.

“I see that the entire population in the world would know who is responsible except for a group of people,” Stella told Sky Sports F1 in Austria. “But the problem behind it is that if you don’t address these things honestly, they will come back.

“They have come back today because they were not addressed properly in the past when there were some fights with Lewis that needed to be punished in a harsher way.”

Hamilton was asked if he agreed with Stella’s view in Thursday’s FIA press conference at Silverstone ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, to which he insisted: “I don’t agree with that, no.”

Norris then interjected to say: “I’m sure Lewis would agree with it two years ago or three years ago!

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 crash at the first

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B and Lewis Hamilton (GBR)…

“There were definitely a few moments especially, but on the whole I’m always going to stand up for what Andrea said. I think Andrea’s got a very good amount of sensibility with how he talks and the things he talks about.

“So definitely I think certain parts are true, and I do agree with Andrea as a note, but certain things are always different when you’re a little bit more in the moment all of itself.

“And I just thing clarification of how he says things, because there’s always certain things with how you pronounce things and stuff that might change too, but on the whole I agree with what Andrea says.”

Hamilton had previously admitted to racing Verstappen differently to other drivers due to the Red Bull driver’s reputation for being aggressive.

But the seven-time world champion would not be drawn on Verstappen and Norris’ coming together in Austria, saying “it’s nothing to do with me”.

Pushed on what he made of the incident, Hamilton replied: “Nothing really. I didn’t think anything of it. I was more concerned about my race and enjoying the team’s win.”

And when asked if he would give any advice to Norris, Hamilton said: “Again, I don’t think I need to. They’ve raced each other for years.”