Lewis Hamilton fires warning at Max Verstappen over his ‘not helpful’ dad

Lewis Hamilton’s last F1 win was in Saudi Arabia in 2021 (Photo: Getty)

Sir Lewis Hamilton says Jos Verstappen’s comments on Red Bull boss Christian Horner are ‘definitely not helpful’.

The seven-time Formula 1 champion also warned Max Verstappen that working so closely with his dad can be ‘really difficult’ and a ‘thin line to walk’.

F1 has arrived in Saudi Arabia, but the Horner scandal continues to overshadow the sport, even after the team principal was cleared of allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

Texts and images supposedly between Horner and his accuser – a female employee of Red Bull – were leaked last week, but the 50-year-old is defiant he will remain in charge of the team he has run since its inception in 2005.

But this was before Jos publicly called for Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, to be sacked following the season opening race in Bahrain, claiming that Red Bull would ‘explode’ if he stayed.

Reigning champion Max says he doesn’t necessarily agree with his father’s comments but insisted that Verstappen Snr. is ‘not a liar’.

Hamilton has now weighed in on the matter, and is well-placed to comment having worked very closely with his own dad in the early years of his racing career before they went their separate ways.

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice

Max Verstappen has been dragged into the Christian Horner scandal… thanks to his dad Jos (Photo: Getty)

‘I don’t know the details of it. So I don’t know what he’s basing these foundations off,’ Hamilton said when asked about Jos’ comments.

‘But at the end of the day, he’s not a part of the team, he’s a parent. And so that’s just an opinion, but it’s definitely not helpful.

‘I think it is a very thin line to walk. I think it’s also dependent on your relationship with your parent.

Christian Horner investigation timeline

How the scandal has unfolded…

Monday 5 February – Red Bull confirm investigation into Horner over ‘controlling behaviour’ allegations

Friday 9 February – Horner grilled by independent lawyer during eight-hour hearing

Thursday 15 February – Horner attends Red Bull’s 2024 car launch and publicly addresses allegations for first time – says he ‘fully denies’ any wrongdoing

Friday 16 February – Fresh allegations emerge in Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf suggesting Horner sent messages of a ‘suggestive nature’ to a female employee

Wednesday 21 February to Friday 23 February – Horner attends Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain – says: ‘We hope there is a resolution as soon as possible’

Friday 23 February – Sixth series of F1: Drive to Survive releases on Netflix – Horner and wife Geri Halliwell feature in docuseries

Wednesday 28 February – Horner cleared of allegations – Red Bull say: ‘The investigation is complete and the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal’

Thursday 29 February – WhatsApp messages and images supposedly between Horner and the complainant were leaked to the media and F1 personnel

Friday 1 March – Horner summoned for showdown talks with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem – later, Horner has a ‘blazing row’ with Jos Verstappen

Saturday 2 March – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins season opening Bahrain Grand Prix – hours later, Jos, Max’s father, warns Red Bull ‘is in danger of being torn apart’ unless Horner leaves

Wednesday 6 March – Deadline for complainant to appeal outcome of investigation

Thursday 7 March to Saturday 9 March – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Max says in build-up that his father is ‘not a liar’

‘You meet some people who have a great relationship with their parents, and they’ve been amazing parents. And then you’ve got people that have had bad relationships.

‘So I don’t know about his [Verstappen’s] relationships. Obviously, you hear things here and there. But Max is a grown man, and he’s a champion, and I’m sure he can make his own decisions.

‘But I think in our world, as drivers, it’s very, very easy to be misled by people whispering in your ear, and perhaps not guiding you always the right way. I’m not saying it’s the case there, because they’re doing great.

Horner won’t be joined by his wife Geri Halliwell in Saudi Arabia (Photo: Getty)

‘But I know in sports, other athletes that I’ve spoken to that I see, whether it’s in tennis, and I’ve experienced it, when you sometimes don’t have the right guidance around you, it leads to you either making the wrong decisions, or not being able to perhaps be the best at what you do.

‘But that’s obviously clearly not the case there, he’s performing well. So it is very difficult, because you want your parent to be your parent, and have a good relationship. But when business is involved, it makes it really difficult.’

Amid all the chaos, tensions between Horner and Jos have fuelled speculation that Max could shockingly leave Red Bull for Mercedes, who are looking for Hamilton’s replacement after he announced his own shock departure to Ferrari.

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

‘My move has shown that anything is possible. I know and I am sure Max is on the [Mercedes’] list,’ the British sporting legend added.

Unfortunately, the Horner saga, as well as the allegations against FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, are taking attention away from matters on track, something that Hamilton is not pleased about.

The 39-year-old added: ‘As someone who loves the sport, it is definitely disappointing to see what is going on right now. It doesn’t look good from the outside world and it doesn’t look good from within.

‘It is a really pivotal moment for the sport in terms of what we project to the world and how it’s handled – and it’s not been handled very well to this point and transparency is really key.

‘We talk about diversity, inclusion and making people feel comfortable in this environment is key, and that’s clearly not the case.’

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