Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer believes that the controversial incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix could signal the start of a rivalry like that Hamilton shared with former teammate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton and Rosberg had a tense relationship during their time at Mercedes together between 2013 and 2016, but things particularly took a turn for the worse when the pair had their first collision on track in 2014. The most famous clash occured at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, where both drivers crashed out of the race on the first lap after making contact. Rosberg brought an end to the rivalry by deciding to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season after winning the World Championship.
Palmer believes there is a chance that Verstappen and Hamilton's battle could potentially see a similar kind of tension arising following the incident at Silverstone.
"When Nico Rosberg and Hamilton first touched in their rivalry it was the start of a sequence of clashes and high tensions that remained until Rosberg’s retirement," Palmer said in his column for Formula1.com.
"Here, with different teams at play into the bargain, I fully expect even more fireworks moving forward."
Palmer thinks that the respect between the two drivers appears to have disappeared now, resulting in the championship fight becoming even more bitter.
"Moving forward this sets the tone for an even more entertaining and feisty season or more between the two championship rivals," Palmer said.
"So far the teams have played a political war, with finger pointing to the FIA resulting in several regulation changes and clarifications on issues such as pit stops, tyre pressures and ‘flexi’ wings.
"The drivers had been toying with mind games earlier on, but remained respectful on track. That respect seems to be gone now, and I can only see this getting more needly from here on."
Following the British Grand Prix, Verstappen's lead over Hamilton in the Drivers' Standings has been reduced to eight points, whilst Red Bull's advantage over Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship is now only four points.
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