Hamilton and Maldonado F1 'feud' after Valencia smash
Alonso is the big winner as he wins European GP and Hamilton and Vettel crash out
LEWIS HAMILTON cut short his media commitments and was whisked away from the Valencia circuit after crashing out of the European Grand Prix in dramatic circumstances with two laps to go on Sunday.
However, Formula One could have a new feud on its hands after Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan driver who collided with Hamilton as he tried to overtake him in the closing stages, made his feeling known on the incident.
"I tried to avoid the accident, but... he made a very aggressive move on me. He tried to put me off the track," he said. "I don't know why he drove like that. He was completely lost."
The stewards did not agree and handed Maldonado a 20-second penalty which dropped him down the field to 12th place and out of the points. The outcome for Hamilton was just as bad as he missed out on 15 valuable points and is now 23 behind championship leader Fernando Alonso.
It was the third coming together between the Englishman and the Venezuelan in F1, following incidents in Monaco and Belgium last year and there is now talk of yet another "feud" involving the British McLaren driver, who has previously made enemies of Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Hamilton beat the steering wheel and hurled it from the cockpit in frustration after the crash but gave a calm assessment of the incident afterwards, although The Guardian said his comment that he was not really sure what had happened was "strangely vague". He was then spirited away from the circuit before he could give too many interviews.
"Perhaps he was in a rush to get home for the England match," says The Daily Telegraph. "More likely, either he or his minders did not trust him to bite his tongue regarding the incident with the Venezuelan, which has allowed Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to steal a huge march in the drivers’ championship."
City AM talked of the "feud" between the two drivers while The Times described Maldonado as Hamilton's "old nemesis".
It was no concern of Alonso, who enjoyed a perfect race as he won in front of his home crowd and saw two of his main rivals crash out. In addition to Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire from the race while leading after suffering an alternator problem.
The other talking point was Michael Schumacher's first podium finish since coming out of retirement. He came third thanks mainly to the crash between Hamilton and Maldonado.