Lewis Hamilton claims he has moved to put his clash with Max Verstappen behind him, hammering home his belief that there must be respect between Formula One drivers. World champion Hamilton accused the Red Bull driver of disrespecting him following an early collision at the Bahrain Grand Prix, although Verstappen insisted upon arriving in China for the third race of the season that there was nothing in the incident.
It's all water under the bridge now, says Hamilton
And respect was again Hamilton's buzzword as he revealed that he had shaken hands with Verstappen in a bid to lead by example among the grid. The Briton also claimed it was up to him, as the older driver, to settle the dispute - just hours after Verstappen had claimed in his news conference that he had been targeted due to his age.
"I generally do my talking on the track, but after this incident I didn't," Hamilton told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix. "I saw Max just now. I think it's always good to show respect. More importantly, being that I'm the older driver, I felt that it was important that I went to him. So, as we were signing just now, I shook his hand and I was like, 'look I'm sorry about the last race.' Regardless of if it is his fault or my fault, it's in the past. Hopefully, that sign of respect shows a lot and helps you turn the page and move forwards, racing each other and hopefully keeps respect between you as I think that's important between drivers."
Great respect for Verstappen
Continuing the theme, Hamilton added: "I have a lot of respect for Max. I was in the same place when I was young, a similar age, or older actually. It's such a learning process, being with all the pressure, being in a top team. He's going to have some great races and he's going to have bad races, just as I will do today, even though I'm much older than him."
Hamilton came through from ninth to finish third in Bahrain, while Verstappen was forced to retire due to damage suffered in the early clash.
9th to 3rd is a good result for damage limitation this weekend, thank you to the fans and the team for your hard work. My thoughts are with the injured pit stop mechanic and I wish him a speedy recovery. Looking forward to next week’s race in Shanghai! #F1 @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/XfDrOfiLuX— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 8, 2018