Max Verstappen has been labelled an “absolute disgrace” for causing championship title rival Lewis Hamilton to crash at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver was instructed to give the Brit his position back at the front of the pack on lap 38 of the eventful inaugural race at Jeddah.
But the Dutchman sparked controversy when supposedly trying to allow Hamilton to go past, having held his position at the centre of the track and suddenly slowed down without warning.
The result was the seven-time world champion being caught off-guard and unable to steer clear of the Red Bull in time to avoid contact.
Hamilton consequently picked up some damage to his Mercedes’ wing, though the Brit fortunately avoided enough contact to prevent another pit-stop.
Verstappen’s transgression incurred a five-second penalty which turned the race in favour of Hamilton, who was then allowed to go in front again before sealing his eighth win of the season.
But fans have been left outraged by what could have cost Hamilton a crucial win and therefore potentially his record-extending eighth Formula One championship.
One fan posted on Twitter in light of the incident: “Verstappen has just deliberately caused impact at high speed. No matter your opinions on Hamilton, that’s a disgrace!”
Another tweeted: “Verstappen is a dirty driver. Didn’t give way to Lewis, no misunderstanding there #SaudiArabianGP.”
Do you think Verstappen purposefully used a dirty move when allowing Hamilton to go past? Let us know in the comments section.
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A third added: “Verstappen is such a dirty driver.”
Hamilton was also critical of the manner in which his rival allowed him to go past, claiming during the race that the Dutchman had “brake-tested” him.
He added in his post-race interview: “I didn’t understand why all of a sudden he hit the brakes quite heavily and then I ran into the back of him.
“Then he moved on so I didn’t understand exactly what was going on and I got a message afterwards that he was going to let us past so it was a bit confusing.”