Lewis Hamilton has suggested that Max Verstappen is more aggressive when racing him because he is the most successful driver in the sport and therefore a bigger target. The Mercedes man insisted that he can relate to the way the Red Bull star drives, as he used to point more to Fernando Alonso when he first entered Formula One because he had the most championships. world at that time.
Verstappen and Hamilton collided last weekend in Brazil after the Dutchman tried to pass the seven-time world champion on the inside of turn two following an early safety car period. Both drivers went down in the field as a result and the Red Bull driver was forced to pit for a front wing change.
It was the current world champion who was punished for the incident, receiving a five-second penalty from the stewards. Hamilton recovered well to move behind teammate George Russell in a one-two for Mercedes, while the Dutchman could only finish sixth, behind Alonso’s Alpine.
Now the Briton has suggested that Verstappen treats him differently when the pair are fighting because he is the more successful man on the grid. However, he insisted that he could relate to his rival, as he was the same when he first got into the sport.
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“I think so, you’re probably right,” he said when asked why. sky sportsTed Kravitz if Verstappen was particularly aggressive towards him due to the number of world titles he had won.
“I remember when I first came into the sport and your target is the guy who has the most championships. It was Fernando (Alonso), then it was Kimi (Raikkonen), because Kimi was one of the best drivers here, and then it was he Seb (Vettel), so I think it’s natural.”
Hamilton also wanted to emphasize that he didn’t feel there was a deeper meaning aside from his success on the track because he never had many “deep interactions” with Verstappen. The 103-race winner suggested the pair only had a proper conversation once, when the Briton tried to convince his opponent to support the Black Lives Matter campaign ahead of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix.
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Hamilton expects Verstappen to “grow up” as he gets more experience, but expects more controversial moments between them on track. Asked if their rivalry will lead to more contentious matchups, he added: “Most likely. I think I’ll adjust.
“You have seen in years past that I try to avoid [contact] on stages. I’m sure we will grow, both sides will grow and improve, hopefully so that we don’t have experiences like we had in the last race, but I couldn’t hold my breath.”
Verstappen and Hamilton will go head-to-head on track for the last time this season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. The race is the 37-year-old’s last chance to keep his proud record of winning an event every season intact, and the Dutch driver is likely to be his biggest competition to win yet again.
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