Lewis Hamilton takes a swipe at his critics and says accusations that Mercedes are cheating their way to the title is the ‘WORST claim to ever make’ ahead of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
- Mercedes have momentum in the F1 title race after winning the last two races
- Lewis Hamilton dominated in Brazil and Qatar to close the gap to eight points
- The seven-time champion has strongly refuted any allegations of cheating
- Hamilton swiped back at critics and said that is the ‘worst claim to ever make’
Lewis Hamilton bit back at his critics and said accusing Mercedes of trying to cheat their way to his eighth world title is the ‘worst claim to ever make’.
Tensions are running high between Mercedes and Red Bull with Hamilton now just eight points behind championship leader Max Verstappen with two races remaining.
Red Bull have been particularly incensed with Hamilton’s rear wing and they have looked to the stewards to penalise what they feel has been an unfair advantage in recent weeks.
Lewis Hamilton says it is the ‘worst claim to ever make’ to accuse Mercedes of cheating in F1
Hamilton (right) revealed he sought more information amid criticism of his rear wing plate
Red Bull voiced suspicions about Hamilton’s rear wing in Brazil amid this fractious title fight
Red Bull principal Christian Horner pointed to ‘score’ marks on the rear wing, which saw Hamilton disqualified from qualifying in Brazil because it was too open, the stewards deemed.
A new power unit allowed him to dance through the field to take victory and Hamilton is adamant that everything behind their upturn in form has been above board.
‘We all have egos and that’s what controls our emotions, and it is egos fighting each other,’ Hamilton said, as quoted by the Times.
‘There is defence, there is respect, but I did see someone say something about cheating, and that’s the worst claim to ever make.’
Upon hearing about the allegations levelled against his car in Brazil, and in particular against his rear wing, Hamilton, 36, has revealed he called Mercedes’ chief technical director and chief aerodynamicist to get a better understanding.
Hamilton (left) and Verstappen (right) have been wheel to wheel all season in the fight for first
There is lots of tension and animosity between teams as Verstappen tries to hold on to the lead
He added: ‘I called James Allison and Mike Elliott and said, “I really want to know about these things,” and they took me through details of where we are.
‘We have done all these tests and this is where it is, but I don’t like it when people put that [cheating accusations] out there.’
Hamilton was, at one stage, 19 points adrift of Verstappen but the gap is now just eight points and should the Briton edge out his rival to victory again he could head to the final race in Abu Dhabi just one point behind.
The paddock is full of chat around the legality of the Mercedes and interest piqued when Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said they would be handing Hamilton a ‘spicy’ engine for the upcoming GP in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Hamilton simply feels his boss is having some fun and is ‘teasing’ rivals with his words but his engine is ‘fresh’, rather than giving him an unfair advantage.
It has been a fraught title fight with clashes at Imola, Silverstone and Monza between Hamilton and Verstappen among the stand-outs.
In Brazil there was outrage that Verstappen was not punished for forcing Hamilton off the track, adding to the animosity between both sides.
Hamilton saw Verstappen’s car go over his head at Monza in one of their collisions this season
Hamilton had one of his best-ever drives to win the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month
With the stakes so close and both drivers pushing their cars to the limit, it has not been ruled out that they will tangle again.
Damon Hill, who won the championship in 1996, is wary of another controversial clash proving decisive in the title race and leaving a mark on what has been a sensational season.
‘I think it would be sad for F1,’ Hill, a pundit for Sky Sports F1, told Sportsmail.
‘We have an obligation to be sporting. I know sport is seen to be a bit naive to expect footballers or whatever to not do the occasional foul but it would be great if there was a way of resolving it, not amicably, but to satisfaction.
‘You want to come away from this with a great championship that has been fought by two worthy opponents and the best man and the best team won. You don’t want that kind of thing hanging over the championship at the end.’