Lewis Hamilton has said the rivalry with Max Verstappen feels no different to other title showdowns. The Mercedes driver admits that he’s found out what it takes in order to beat his team-mate this season, and believes they have a long way still before such battles are commonplace within Formula One.
Lewis Hamilton says that Max Verstappen’s rivalry with him feels no different to other title showdowns. Lewis Hamilton has been in the F1 championship for over ten years and he said that this is the first time he has ever had a rival like Max Verstappen.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — After refusing to be drawn on the possibility of a collision with championship rival Max Verstappen at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton says that this year’s title race is no different from prior seasons.
Hamilton and Verstappen are tied on points heading into the final race of the season, with Verstappen leading the standings by virtue of winning nine races to Hamilton’s eight. The circumstance sets up a tantalizing winner-takes-all clash on Sunday, however if they both fail to collect points, Verstappen will be declared the victor.
The duo has clashed on track three times this year, the most recent being at last week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, for which Verstappen was penalized, implying that the possibility of wheel-to-wheel contact determining the championship is not out of the realm of possibility. When asked whether he was afraid that a collision may influence the championship battle, Hamilton stated he wasn’t thinking about it.
“No, to be honest, I don’t put any effort into it,” Hamilton replied. “I’ve come to do my best with this great squad.”
“We never imagined we’d be neck and neck heading into the last race; we’ve had an incredible group comeback and have been in a wonderful position these past few races.”
“We go full throttle with the same intensity, and we don’t waste energy on things we can’t control.”
To avoid a collision between the two title contenders, FIA race director Michael Masi warned all drivers in his pre-event comments that unsportsmanlike behavior on the track might result in points being deducted or drivers being disqualified from the championship. Michael Schumacher was disqualified from second position in the standings for attempting to knock Jacques Villeneuve out of the race during the 1997 season finale at Jerez.
Masi’s admonition was appreciated by Hamilton, although he expressed the hope that it would not be necessary.
“I mean, it’s happened before,” he continued, “and I’m sure the stewards haven’t taken the steps they should have this time.” “I believe it is reasonable that they do so, and hopefully they will not be required to do so, and we will have a fantastic race and go ahead. Otherwise, I don’t have an opinion; I’m here to perform my work and don’t want to see the stewards, and they don’t want to see me.”
When asked whether he believed Verstappen to race honestly in the season finale, Hamilton said, “I trust him.” “As I previously stated, I do not devote any focus to such matters as we approach the weekend. At the end of the day, I feel that everyone that races here is here to win. I’d like to assume that everyone wants to do things correctly, therefore I try not to think about it.” If Hamilton wins the championship, it would be his eighth of his career, putting him one ahead of Schumacher, who currently has seven. However, Hamilton said that this year’s victory has no special meaning for him at this time.
“I don’t know, it just seems like another championship to me right now.” I don’t think of it as a multiple; I think about every season and every year as if you’re starting from scratch; you’re the hunter and fighting from the time you begin training; you’re focused on winning from the moment you begin practicing.
“I don’t show up in a vehicle with the number one on it; instead, I show up in a car with the number 44. That year, I don’t think of myself as the reigning champion; instead, I think of myself as the one competing for the title.”
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