Mercedes, it has been suggested, had a cheeky dig at Max Verstappen as they tweeted a video of his team-mate Sergio Perez racing Lewis Hamilton and labelling it “real racing”.
Hamilton took on both Red Bull team-mates at one point or another in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, one ending in contact and the other not.
You only get one guess which was which.
Hamilton and Verstappen reignited their rivalry as the reigning World Champion tried to get the jump on the Mercedes driver after an early Safety Car restart.
Racing outside of Hamilton through Turn 1, he found himself on the inside into Turn 2 where there was no room. They collided, Hamilton losing a handful of places while Verstappen had to pit for a new front wing.
The stewards blamed Verstappen, slapping the Dutchman with a five-second time penalty.
Fast forward to later in the race, Hamilton found himself a distant third after a pit stop. With ‘Hammer Time’ activated he set about chasing down Perez for P2 and reeled him.
As with Verstappen, Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel with Perez, this time though there wasn’t any contact.
Mercedes have made their appreciation known.
“Real racing at Interlagos,” read a tweet from the team. “Maximum respect as Lewis battled Checo for P2!”
Twitter responded with comments such as “I see what you did there, admin” and “how to take a swing without taking a swing 101”.
Hamilton’s crash with Verstappen was just the latest in a long line of incidents between the two rivals, and there’s likely more to come.
Asked about their incident in Brazil, Hamilton said: “I don’t really have much of an opinion about it, to be honest.
“For me, all I thought in that moment was that I thought the car would have to retire. Because I felt something, the rear wasn’t feeling the same after that.
“For me it was like I was going to lose the team the one-two. All I could think of.
“So I was driving over across the grass, back onto the track and all I could think of was how can I get back to giving the team that incredible result.
“So just for me it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up. And I’m proud of the job we’ve all done and huge congratulations to George.”
George Russell took the win, Mercedes’ first of the season, while Hamilton made it a 1-2.
Read more: Lewis Hamilton doubles down on ‘manipulated’ 2021 title claim
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