Caption Two for the show, Max Verstappen and Hamilton in discussion prior to Silverstone and Monza clashes.
When Elvis Presley released his hit song Blue Suede Shoes, which begins with the words "Well, one for the money, two for the show" he clearly didn't have Formula 1 in mind. But those lyrics could easily be related to the current situation of the increasingly volatile relationship between championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
The one with the most money, hundreds of millions of it, would be seven-time world champion Hamilton, who along with Verstappen, the pretender to Hamilton's crown, is making the show.
And it isn't Hamilton's blue suede shoes - which he probably wouldn't wear, if he has some, to the glamorous fashion galas he likes jetting to around the world - that Max might step on. But in the Italian Grand Prix nearly two weeks ago, Verstappen was found by the FIA to be "predominantly to blame" for his Red Bull 'stepping' on top of Hamilton's Mercedes, putting both of them out of the race. It might have been the end of the race for the two protagonists, but it wasn't to be the end of the drama.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was quick to accuse Verstappen of a "tactical foul" and suggested his actions were to prevent Hamilton from winning the race, which given the pace of the McLarens of subsequent race winner Daniel Ricciardo and runner-up Lando Norris, was actually fairly unlikely, even if Hamilton had stayed in the race. Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko said Mercedes were trying to put the blame on Verstappen, essentially milking a penalty (a fairly typical ploy on a football field, when one player makes out they are really hurt despite the tackle looking fairly tame).
Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, which could force Red Bull to take more pain by changing the engine on his car. Red Bull has used up its engine allocation and must take a grid penalty sooner or later.
Hamilton also accused Verstappen of not checking on his welfare by just getting out of his car and walking past Hamilton who remained in his car. Hamilton was actually trying to reverse out, having kept the engine running, but he was stuck under Verstappen's car.
"It was a normal racing incident," Marko insisted. "All the stories around it were pulled up by the hair by Mercedes. Verstappen had already got out when Hamilton tried to go back to get out of the gravel. The medical car saw that and drove on.
"And then a show is put on that poor Hamilton is suddenly injured."
Hamilton said: "I think I'm going to be travelling these next few days but I probably will need to see a specialist just to make sure I'm good for the next race because it's getting tighter and tighter," he said referring to his neck. "But I'll live."
Which he did, because he was 'forced' to fly to New York and attend a fashion gala on the Tuesday evening, just two days after the race. Clearly if he had any injuries, taking a nine-hour flight, even in first class, and attending a glitzy fashion event would be the last thing you would contemplate doing. But Hamilton is a showman and the show, it seems, had to go on.
Marko did accept that the incident between the two, with Verstappen's car sliding over the cockpit of Hamilton's Mercedes, proved the worth of the Halo device that first appeared on F1 cars in 2018.
"Even if I was sceptical at first, I have to admit just like in the fire accident [Romain Grosjean in Bahrain last year], the Halo was decisive in ensuring that things turned out so well, "Marko said.
Hamilton told reporters after the race how fortunate he was.
"I feel very, very fortunate today - thank God for the Halo," Hamilton said. "That ultimately saved me, and saved my neck. I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before and it's quite a shock for me. If you've seen the image, my head is quite far forward."
"I'm so, so grateful I'm still here. I feel incredibly blessed. I feel like someone was watching over me today."
However, Cranfield University's motorsport director, Clive Temple, has said it wasn't luck or fortune that saved Hamilton from injury but engineering and science.
"Hamilton was not lucky," Temple said.
"Engineering and science underpin all of this work which ensures drivers are safe. Safety is the primary concern in motorsport.
'The Halo was introduced in 2018 and proved its worth in that season when Charles Leclerc, who was then driving for Alfa Romeo, was protected from [Fernando] Alonso's flying McLaren. We also had the Grosjean fireball incident in November 2020, and again the Halo came to the fore there."
Toto Wolff, in reference to his fellow Austrian, Helmet Marko, says "Mr Grumpy is our strongest weapon."
"Niki [Lauda] always said 'every attack from the outside strengthens our team.' When it comes to a World Championship in Formula 1, you are not cuddling."
So does Wolff have a solution to stop Verstappen and Hamilton crashing into one another? "We have seen similar incidents in the past between two drivers fighting for the championship," he noted. "We have to find a "modus operandi" that will keep confrontations under control, but that can only come from them. Lewis and Max must find the right way to face each other. Until they find it, there will be trouble."
Back to some lyrics from Blue suede Shoes then:
"Well, you can knock me, step in my face
Slander my name all over the place
Do anything that you want to do
But uh-oh honey, lay off of my shoes."
Hamilton is in no doubt as to what he has to avoid doing.
"We're both top drivers, well experienced and I know I can't go around the outside of Max," he stated. "We've seen it at Imola. We've seen it at Turn Four [at Monza] that he runs you out of road."
At least he and Verstappen think alike, as after the Monza incident Verstappen said: "He ran me a bit too much out of road. He cut across already after the white line and I had to go onto the green part to not touch and I went around the outside. And of course you realise I was going for it, so he just kept on squeezing me. I wanted to work with him because I wanted to race."
Two for the show it is, and "you can do anything but lay off my blue suede shoes."
Carlos Sainz told the press at Monza that "the accident is pretty clear. I'm not going into detail, I'm not going to give you my opinion because I feel like there's going to be some talk about it in the next driver meeting."
In the meantime, Wolff is warning F1 to be careful not to spoil the show by introducing gimmicky regulations such as reverse grids, which is often suggested, because F1 "is not a reality show or Big Brother or worldwide wrestling, where the outcome is completely random.
"You can see this year there are more cars that are really competitive and it's a really good fight at the top."
The last four races have been won by four different drivers and teams, but that doesn't necessarily mean the gap between the two top teams and the rest has narrowed. Mercedes and Red Bull are generally 1 to 1.5 seconds quicker a lap than the rest.
"Well, it's one for the money, two for the show
"Three to get ready now go, cat, go."
Williams CEO Jost Capito believes that if F1 wants to continue to witness close battles, it needs to stop playing the blame game.
"I don't think it's absolutely right to look for someone to blame, especially when it's not clear," he told Motorsport.com. "And it wasn't clear here," he added, referring to Monza.
"So you should say, okay, they are racing drivers, so let them race too. That's the salt in the soup, isn't it? It's racing."
Last word to Elvis: "But don't you step on my blue suede shoes!"