F1 world divided over Lewis Hamilton's 'classless' act

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Seen here, Lewis Hamilton looks on at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was less than impressed with the start from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Pic: Getty

Lewis Hamilton has divided Formula One fans after taking a stunning swipe at his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas after the Mexican Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion was less than impressed with Bottas' start in the race, claiming his teammate "the door open" for Max Verstappen to claim another win that moves the Red Bull ace a step closer to a maiden F1 world title.

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Verstappen surged past both Hamilton and pole-sitter Bottas with a magnificent start at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez before going on to score an impressive win.

Starting second, Hamilton's reaction time might have been three thousandths of a second quicker than Verstappen's, but Bottas allowed the Red Bull driver an opening when he left the racing line unguarded.

Verstappen hardly needed the invitation, jinking out of Bottas' slipstream before out-braking both Mercedes drivers to seize the lead.

Bottas had more than just that to worry about after coming into contact with Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren in an incident that ruined the chances of both drivers.

Hamilton was miffed about the events before that collision, however, after accusing pole-sitter Bottas of failing to protect his position by covering the side of the track where Verstappen made his move.

"I envisaged the start differently in the sense that Valtteri would get a better start and I would try to get into his tow," said Hamilton.

"I was covering my side of the track and making sure that nobody could come up the inside and try to keep whichever Red Bull I could see in my mirror behind.

"I thought Valtteri would be doing the same, but obviously he left the door open for Max.

"Max was on the racing line and did an amazing job braking into turn one. I was on the inside and there was no opening."

Hamilton's Mercedes boss Toto Wolff concurred with his superstar driver.

"That shouldn't have happened," said the Austrian. "We had two cars in front and seemed to open up the sea for Max to come around the outside. It is annoying to say the least."

Many fans agreed with that assessment the Mercedes boss and the team's top driver, while others labelled criticised for so publicly throwing his teammate under he bus.

Lewis Hamilton refusing to concede title  

Bottas, who will be replaced by British driver George Russell next season, spun at the second corner after tangling with McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo. He finished 15th.

"It made my race a lot harder," said Hamilton, who spent the closing stages of the race holding off Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez.

"Having one Red Bull car ahead and one behind allows them to play the strategy. Sergio was super close and I couldn't pull away from him. But when there is a will there is a way, and we managed to keep him behind."

Despite his latest defeat, Hamilton has not given up hope of winning a record-breaking eighth title, despite slipping from 12 to 19 points behind Verstappen with 107 points in the standings.

Pictured centre, Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after beating Lewis Hamilton in the Mexican GP.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (centre) celebrates on the podium after winning the Mexican Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Pic: Getty

"There are still four races to go. Nineteen points is a lot of points and Max has nine wins and that is a lot of wins," he said.

"If they were to carry their superior speed into the next races we may be in trouble, but I hope we will be closer.

"They have the faster car, but all I can do is try and squeeze everything out of our package, make sure we don't leave any stone unturned, maximise what we have, and give it my all."

with AAP

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