F1

Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis Hamilton says “it’s natural” for Max Verstappen to target him

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen met at the Sao Paulo GP last weekend; the pair collided on track multiple times last season during their intense battle for the title; Watch the Abu Dhabi GP all weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with the race at 1pm on Sunday

Last Update: 11/17/22 6:44 pm

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Lewis Hamilton agrees that it is ‘natural’ for Max Verstappen to fight him more because he is the more successful driver and believes that Mercedes has learned a lot this year due to its underperforming car.

Lewis Hamilton agrees that it is ‘natural’ for Max Verstappen to fight him more because he is the more successful driver and believes that Mercedes has learned a lot this year due to its underperforming car.

Lewis Hamilton says his status at the top of Formula 1 makes it “natural” for Max Verstappen to drive more aggressively against him than other competitors.

Verstappen triumphed in a thrilling world championship battle with Hamilton last season to claim his first title after several collisions with the seven-time world champion during a frenetic 2021 campaign.

Red Bull’s dominance and Mercedes’ lack of pace this year have led to a lack of on-track encounters for the rivals in 2022, but with the Silver Arrows finally catching up in recent weeks, Verstappen and Hamilton clashed. at the Sao Paulo GP last weekend, with the Dutchman receiving a five-second penalty for causing the collision.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi ahead of the season finale this weekend, on the scene of Verstappen’s controversial title win last year, Hamilton was asked if he expected the rivalry to continue to generate controversial moments.

He replied, “Most likely. I think I’ll adjust.”

“You have seen in previous years that I try to avoid [contact] on stages.

Verstappen and Hamilton collide at the Sao Paulo GP after the restart of the race after the Safety Car

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Verstappen and Hamilton collide at the Sao Paulo GP after the restart of the race after the Safety Car

Verstappen and Hamilton collide at the Sao Paulo GP after the restart of the race after the Safety Car

“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.

Hamilton was then asked in a follow-up question if he thinks the reason for Verstappen’s particularly aggressive driving style against him stems from his status as the sport’s most successful driver of all time.

The 37-year-old smiled before replying, “I think so, you’re probably right.

“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 doesn't think about last season's Abu Dhabi GP and doesn't focus on the things behind it.

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Hamilton doesn’t think about last season’s Abu Dhabi GP and doesn’t focus on the things behind it.

Hamilton doesn’t think about last season’s Abu Dhabi GP and doesn’t focus on the things behind it.

Hamilton also revealed that the only time he had an “in-depth” conversation with Verstappen was when he tried to persuade him to kneel beside him in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, something the Dutchman chose not to do.

“I don’t think there’s anything deeper in the background, because we’ve never had a deep conversation,” Hamilton said.

“The only time we had an in-depth conversation was in 2020 in Austria, when I went to talk to him about what Black Lives Matter meant and how much it would mean if I supported it.

“I tried to explain how he feels and why we were fighting, and what it’s about. Obviously, it didn’t make a difference.”

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