Behind-the-scenes footage has captured the moment five-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton silenced a raging Max Verstappen with a telling piece of advice.
Red Bull driver Verstappen was involved in a violent altercation with Esteban Ocon after the Force India driver took him out while the youngster was leading the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s fury over the incident spilled over into a heated confrontation at the scales after the race, where the Dutchman furiously shoved his rival several times.
The incident divided opinion, with some feeling Verstappen went too far by laying hands on a rival.
Others saw the Dutchman as justifiably angry at paying the price for another driver’s mistake.
Ocon, backed by champions Mercedes who see him as a talent for the future, was widely criticised for trying to pass the leading car when already lapped.
He was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty at the time.
Verstappen, subsequently ordered to do two days of public service as punishment for the pushing, could equally have given the Frenchman a wider berth and kept his eyes firmly on the bigger prize of victory.
Hamilton silenced a still fuming Verstappen with this very point as they were waiting to go on the podium.
“He is allowed to unlap himself… you had more to lose than he did. He had nothing to lose,” the five-time world champion, who had already wrapped up this year’s title, told Verstappen.
Hamilton’s words struck a chord with F1 fans on social media, who claim the world champion’s mentality is what separates him from drivers such as Verstappen.
Hamilton went into more detail with reporters after the race.
“You can never assume that the person is not up your inside because he’s a backmarker and he’s going to back off,” Hamilton said.
“You’ve got to assume, you’ve got to acknowledge the fact that he may be there so I’m going to leave extra space. Because actually he’s in a different race to me.
“So from my seat it felt like it wasn’t 100 per cent one side. More like maybe it’s 60-40.”
Red Bull boss defends Mad Mx
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner did not condone the use of violence, but said he did not believe Verstappen overstepped the mark.
“Drivers aren’t robots and we don’t want them to be,” Horner said.
“We have seen in other sports that there is interaction between players, and it’s down to the referee to step in and manage that. I don’t think it got out of hand.
“What I don’t know is what words were exchanged, and how Max was antagonised. Of course we don’t condone violence in any way but you have to understand that emotions are running very high.
“Through the irresponsible actions of a backmarker we’ve lost a grand prix, and it just wasn’t handled at all well by Ocon. It was totally irresponsible to be racing Max.”