Saturday 23 October 2021
Vettel knocked off in training
Verstappen calls Hamilton “stupid idiot”
It’s just training, but it’s going to get hot: World Cup rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton meet on the track, and the Dutchman clearly comments on it gestural and verbal. Schumacher follows behind, Vettel too, who expects a penalty for the race anyway.
Insults and a middle finger from Max Verstappen in the direction of Lewis Hamilton on training day – the World Cup competitors quickly got up to temperature at the Formula 1 weekend in Texas. After a wheel-to-wheel duel over the entire start and finish straight, Red Bull driver Verstappen insulted the world champion in the Mercedes as a “stupid idiot” and showed Hamilton the middle finger.
After the clearly better times in the first practice session, the Silver Arrows were no longer so superior in the second session in the afternoon and had to hand over the best time to Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. His team-mate Verstappen, however, did not make the very fast lap he had hoped for and was therefore audibly pissed off. “I’ve had enough,” radioed the world championship leader after he was again prevented from driving freely by other cars. He came into the pits and switched to test mode for the long haul.
In the first practice session, Verstappen was the only driver less than a second behind the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton. With the asphalt temperatures of 38 degrees in the afternoon even warmer, Perez and Lando Norris in the McLaren were faster than Hamilton and Bottas.
With five wins from the previous eight races, Hamilton is the favorite on Sunday. But Verstappen has also had very good results in the past on the circuit that is popular with drivers. “It’s a good track, a circuit where you can enjoy driving. You can definitely overtake here, that’s what makes it special,” he said on Thursday.
Alfa Romeo apparently on the verge of sale
For the first time since the memorable clash at Monza, Hamilton and Verstappen could face each other again there. In Russia (Verstappen) and Turkey (Hamilton), the two top drivers were recently relegated to the grid due to engine penalties.
This fate meets Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas again in Texas, who set the fastest time. He has to move back five places. “We are suffering a bit in terms of reliability this year, I think that is the sixth engine for Valtteri,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. With new parts, the Finn turned the fastest lap of the day in 1: 34.874 minutes in the first practice session. Hamilton (1: 34.919) was also faster there than Sergio Perez (1: 34.946), who led the second practice session at Red Bull.
Sebastian Vettel expects a penalty transfer to the end of the field because of the fourth engine change on his Aston Martin, as he had to replace more than Bottas. The four-time world champion (1: 36.718) did not get past 15th place in the second training session. Mick Schumacher (1: 37.041) took 17th place at his US premiere in the defeated Haas, the 22-year-old was clearly ahead of his Russian team-mate Nikita Mazepin.
Meanwhile, there was also exciting news off the track, although no official confirmation yet. During the first free practice, rumors about Michael Andretti joining Sauber grew. According to Sky expert Ralf Schumacher, the deal affecting the Alfa Romeo team has now been bagged.