‘Nice guys don’t win’: Lewis Hamilton must ‘harden up’ in fight with ‘arrogant’ Max Verstappen

Former team owner Eddie Jordan says Lewis Hamilton was too nice in his title fight with Max Verstappen and needs to “harden himself up again”.

Hamilton was on the verge of clinching a record eighth world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday when Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps to go, bringing out the safety car and handing Verstappen the opportunity to attack on the final lap and win the race and his first drivers’ championship.

Hamilton did little to stop Verstappen’s move down the inside at turn five, apparently caught off guard, and although he battled back gamely later in the lap he could not regain the lead. The Briton was magnanimous in defeat, congratulating his rival, but Jordan believes he was “too nice” and allowed the “arrogant” Verstappen to beat him.

“You can’t deny Verstappen the right to the championship,” Jordan told the BBC. “However, on the other side, I think Hamilton has opened the door. He’s allowed someone as aggressive and arrogant as Verstappen to upset him and steal his title from him.

“I think Lewis has been too nice for too long and I think he needs to harden himself up again. For me, it’s his body language. Listen to the way he spoke afterwards – he was so sporting. All of Britain can be so proud of what he’s doing, but nice guys don’t win titles and he’s become a nice guy.

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“He’s the best driver I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some really top drivers in my time, so for me to say that I’m really putting him on a pedestal.”

Hamilton said on his team radio “this has been manipulated” after he was passed by Verstappen on the final lap. The message was not broadcast on the world TV feed but was audible on seven-times champion Hamilton’s onboard channel on F1TV, multiple media outlets reported.

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