'Such a d***head' - Lewis Hamilton angered by Max Verstappen after Bahrain collision

'Such a d***head' - Lewis Hamilton angered by Max Verstappen after Bahrain collision

Lewis Hamilton pulled no punches in his damning assessment of Max Verstappen after branding the Red Bull driver a "d***head" following their collision in today's thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix.

Defending champion Hamilton lost further ground to Sebastian Vettel in their title battle after the Ferrari driver masterfully managed a one-stop strategy to hold off Valtteri Bottas and claim his second victory in as many races.

Hamilton had to be content with filling the final spot on the podium after he started ninth. Indeed it may have been one place less, but for Kimi Raikkonen's retirement following a dramatic pit-stop collision with his own Ferrari mechanic.

The mechanic suffered a broken leg in an incident befitting the thrill-a-minute race that remained impossible to predict until the moment Vettel took the chequered flag.

'Such a d***head' - Lewis Hamilton angered by Max Verstappen after Bahrain collision

Hamilton's flashpoint with Verstappen arrived on the second lap. Both drivers were in unfamiliar positions after Hamilton started down the order following a grid penalty and Verstappen's qualifying crash.

The Red Bull driver sensed blood in his early pursuit of Hamilton, but his no-holds-barred move cost him dearly.

Verstappen lunged underneath Hamilton on the 220mph turn 1 charge, inadvertently colliding with the Mercedes car. Hamilton lived to fight another day, but Verstappen sustained an ultimately terminal left-rear puncture.

Seconds after removing his helmet in the green room before the podium, the Englishman watched a replay. "Such a d***head," Hamilton said. The stewards took no action, but Hamilton was clearly aggrieved with Verstappen's conduct.

"I had a coming together with Max and it was an unnecessary collision," said a marginally more reflective Hamilton. "There needs to be a certain respect between drivers.

"It didn't feel like a respectful manoeuvre, and it was a silly manoeuvre for himself because he didn't finish the race. Obviously, he has made a few mistakes recently."

Verstappen, who spun at the curtain raiser in Melbourne a fortnight ago, before crashing out of qualifying here, did not concur.

"In my opinion, there was plenty of room for the both of us to go around that corner and to say 'no action taken' by the stewards is a bit harsh. If it was the other way around I'm sure he [Hamilton] would want it looked into."

Hamilton charged back through the field, including an audacious move at the opening bend in which he passed three drivers.

In a flurry of sparks, Hamilton dived to the right on the main straight to take the inside line into turn 1 and make his way past Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon.

By lap six he was fifth after passing Kevin Magnussen. That became fourth when he surged past Pierre Gasly.

A strategic chess game ensued with Mercedes putting both Bottas and Hamilton on one-stop strategies in a bid to leapfrog Vettel and Raikkonen, who, after stopping for the less durable soft tyres, seemed certain to have to pit again.

But although Raikkonen did have to come in - and then swiftly retired following his collision with his own mechanic - Vettel somehow managed to make his soft tyres last 40 laps.

Bottas was breathing down his neck in the final exchanges, but despite a semi-attempt at glory on the last lap, Vettel crossed the line 0.6 seconds clear of the Mercedes.

The feeling in the paddock on Sunday night was that the other Mercedes driver would have given Vettel a better run for his money.

"I came on the radio with 10 laps to go and said I had everything under control, but that was a lie as I had nothing under control," said a jubilant Vettel, who is now 17 points clear of Hamilton.

"When they told me the pace of Valtteri at that time I thought there is no way I could do that. I was doing the maths in the car and thought he was going to catch me. I tried to nurse the tyres as much as I could. It worked, but only just."

Hamilton added: "I started ninth so third is not bad at all. It was damage limitation."

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