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Sao Paulo F1 GP: Lewis Hamilton recalls Max Verstappen’s fierce battle: “I can’t let him do this again” | F1

Verstappen insisted there would be “no rematch” this weekend after Hamilton sensationally beat him in 2021.

The Mercedes driver started in P10 but first overtook Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and then, at the third attempt, overtook his great rival Verstappen for the lead which he converted into a special win.

“When I took second place from Perez, I saw Verstappen driving in the distance,” recalled Hamilton.

“I saw that I was getting closer and closer. I thought: ‘Is Max saving his tyres, or is he just not as fast because I’m catching up with him?'”

“Little by little I got closer. Red Bull had an incredibly fast engine in 2021, without a doubt the fastest of them all.

“The first time I tried to pass him, Max braked and went super, super deep. I would have gotten into the corner if he hadn’t gone off the track. I had to recover and I was like, ‘I can.’ Don’t let him do this again.” ‘.

“The second time I touched his tail, going into the first corner I pretended to attack.

“I made Max think I wanted to dive into the hole on the inside and he ran a defensive line. He made sure his corner was steeper and he was able to take a nice wide line and position me a lot better going into Turn 4.

“On the straight, I catapulted alongside him and took the lead.

“Perhaps this was one of my best races, at least as far as I can remember. It was amazing and one of the races I’m most proud of, seeing the setbacks we suffered that weekend. It shows that you should never, ever give up.”

Verstappen won the championship shortly after at F1’s notorious 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and has emerged as this season’s champion in the middle of F1’s cost cap row.

Hamilton enters Brazil this year having been named an honorary citizen.

He only has two chances left in 2022 to maintain his record of having won an F1 race in each of his career seasons.

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