Max Verstappen has accused Lewis Hamilton of breaking F1 rules after the pair almost came together in the Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton dived up the inside of Verstappen at turn three on the opening lap and managed to squeeze past the Dutchman.
That left Verstappen behind the two Mercedes drivers during the opening stages and could have made his afternoon more difficult had it not been for red flags. After the race, Verstappen appeared to fire a dig at Hamilton and suggested the Mercedes driver had not followed the regulations because he didn’t leave him enough space.
The duo nearly made contact on the corner entry with Hamilton later checking his front wing for damage. Verstappen was quick to moan at Hamilton’s move over team radio, telling his race engineer: “He pushed me off the track. I was ahead at the apex, he pushed me off.”
After the race, he said: “From my side, I just tried to avoid contact. It’s quite clear in the rules what you’re allowed to do on the outside, but clearly it’s not followed.
Max Verstappen secured victory as Hamilton picked up a podium
“It’s okay, we had good pace and we passed them anyway, but it’s something for the next race to take into account. It’s great to win here – my first win, it’s been a while for the team as well so very very happy.”
Verstappen took advantage of the first red flag to move ahead of Russell while he passed Hamilton for the lead minutes later. He then cruised to victory after pulling out a massive 10-second advantage over the seven-time champion.
His win was almost thrown into doubt after a late red flag as Kevin Magnussen crashed in the closing stages. But, he survived an accident-packed third start to ensure he held on to P1.
Hamilton dived up the inside of Verstappen on lap one
After the chequered flag, the reigning champion branded the confusion as a “mess” but was happy at the team’s pace on Sunday. He explained: “We had a very poor start, and lap one I was careful because I had a lot to lose and they had a lot to win. After that, the pace of the car was quick – you could see that straight away.
“We were always there, waiting for the DRS for the chance to pass. But with these red flags, I don’t know. The first one, maybe you can do it but the second one I don’t understand.
“So, it was a bit of a mess, but we survived everything and we won, which, of course, is the most important thing.”