This season Lewis Hamilton has a serious problem with Max Verstappen in his hunt for an eighth world title. The young Dutchman is also known for not giving an inch and that has already caused a few incidents on the track. Hamilton says that the fight with Verstappen has ensured that his own driving style has changed.
After two consecutive victories in Brazil and Qatar, Hamilton is only eight points behind Verstappen.
“Instead of giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, you need to know what’s going to happen,” Hamilton told a small group of journalists including the BBC, Motorsport and The Race.
“You always have to be ready to avoid a collision at all costs. If that means going wide, then you want to see the end of the race, right? If you’re stubborn and you stick with it, you’re going to crash.”
“That’s what I just tried to do. I’ve tried to make sure I avoid a crash, and I think I’ve succeeded pretty well in most scenarios. You can’t always do it perfectly.”
“When you’re on the outside of a car, swerve is almost always the wisest option to see the end of the race.
“If you’re on the inside, there are scenarios where I really believe I was right, even if I’m almost wheel to wheel with the car.”
With the latter, Hamilton is clearly referring to the crash at Silverstone in which he catapulted Max Verstappen into the crash barriers in the opening phase of the race. “My front wheel was next to his front wheel, so it wasn’t like my wheel was next to his rear wheel when he went in.”
Hamilton also compares this incident with the now much-discussed incident in Brazil.
“If I had just stayed on the gas and gone off the track and then held the position, what would the scenario have been there?”
“I don’t mind being the one who takes a step back,” he emphasized. “I’m not too big or too successful to have to pull out and fight another day. I know sometimes that’s the road to take. You have to be the smarter one.”
“I want to be the purest rider, through speed, through hard work and determination, so that at the end there is no denying what I have achieved.”
The world champion is of course not ready for his test piece and he says that Max Verstappen is not the only one with such a driving style.
“He’s not the only rider I’ve raced against who is like that. It’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with a rider who is both good and bad in certain ways.”
“I know what it’s like for him, the spotlight and the pressure of the sport at that age. He is a super fast boy and he will get stronger and stronger as he matures, which he undoubtedly will.”
More F1 news:– Lewis Hamilton hates it but now does it for the title fight with Max Verstappen: testing in the F1 simulator– Mercedes: ‘Losing the F1 title is not the end of the world’– Ferrari: “We can’t wait for the F1 season to be over, the team can’t handle it anymore!”– Should Ferrari fear the departure of main sponsor Philip Morris?– Bad news for Max Verstappen: Lewis Hamilton gets ‘rocket engine’ again in Saudi Arabia