Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen joked about nipple-piercings in a light-hearted moment between the two world champions seated in the same group for the 2022 Australian Grand Prix Formula 1 drivers’ press conferences today in Melbourne.
Between practice sessions on Friday, during the FIA hosted a press conference at Albert Park, Hamilton was asked how the governing body’s clampdown on drivers wearing jewellery, for safety reasons while racing , would affect him.
With tongue in cheek, Hamilton replied: “Well, I’ve got certain piercings that I really just can’t take out that not many people know of. No. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
“OK, I mean, it’s been the rule forever. Since I’ve been here, it’s been the rule, so there’s nothing new. I’m just going to come up with more jewellery next week.”
Upon which Verstappen was asked and replied: “Me? I will be too heavy if I wear jewellery. So it’s not possible…”
“I know you have a nipple-piercing man. Come on!” quipped Lewis.
Verstappen bounced back to get the last laugh: “You want to see it again?”
Clearly, since they are not rubbing paint at the front of the pack, the apparent frostiness between the pair seems to have thawed.
Verstappen: Every driver is of course different to fight against
Notably, Verstappen was asked about the difference in rules of engagement between his clean and respectful battles with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc this season, compared to the aggressive and wheel-banging that characterised battles between Max and Lewis last year.
The Red Bull driver said: “You know, every driver is of course different to fight against. But also, you know, I grew up with Charles, we are the same age. We already had our battles in go-karting. But yeah, so far. I mean, this year has been good.
As for the feud with Hamilton, Verstappen neatly swerved the question by answering: “Last year has been good. You know, we had really a lot of, I think, enjoyable battles. So I just hope of course that it can continue like this.”
Later in the day, the pair were in action during Melbourne FP2, with Verstappen and Red Bull carrying their form over from the Middle East to Down Under, with Leclerc topping the times at the end of the day, chased by Verstappen a quarter second adrift.
In stark contrast, Hamilton was down in 13th, a massive 1.5 seconds off the pace and not expected to rub wheels anywhere near Verstappen on pace during Sunday’s race.