Lewis Hamilton, the three-time Formula 1 World Champion, has said that he understands Max Verstappen’s “intense” pressure.
Lewis Hamilton can empathise with intense pressure Max Verstappen is feeling. He has been in the spotlight for a while now, and he knows how it feels to be under intense pressure.
As he fights for his maiden Formula One championship, Lewis Hamilton said he understands the “intense” pressure title challenger Max Verstappen must be experiencing.
Hamilton and Verstappen clashed for the second time this season at the Italian Grand Prix. Both drivers were forced to retire from the race, and Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix this weekend.
Verstappen has a five-point lead in the championship and is aiming for his first victory. Hamilton, on the other hand, has won more Formula One races than any other driver in history and is chasing his eighth championship, which would put him ahead of Michael Schumacher in the all-time standings.
Hamilton, who debuted in 2007 and won his first title the following year, recalls how tough it is to compete for the first championship.
“Of course, we’re fighting for a title,” Hamilton said. “I remember how it felt to fight for my first title, and now I’m competing for something like my tenth.” I know what it was like, the pressures and experiences you go through, so I understand.
“I believe it is critical that we continue to race aggressively but fairly.” I’m certain that we’ll both be professional and learn from our mistakes.
During the Italian F1 Grand Prix at Autodromo di Monza, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided. Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images, photo by Dan Istitene
“Obviously [Max] won’t acknowledge it, and I’m not going to assume anything, but I remember how it felt when I had my first one, and it certainly added up.” It was tough, it was intense, I was experiencing a wide range of emotions, and I didn’t always manage it well, which is to be expected.
“You’re working in a large team, so there’s a lot of self-expectation and pressure because the drive to win is so strong. So all I’m saying is that I empathize and sympathize, but I’m certain that we’ll learn from this.”
Getty Images/Mark Thompson
Unlike their first collision, which resulted in Hamilton receiving a penalty, the race stewards in Monza deemed Verstappen “predominantly to fault” for their second collision. He has a grid penalty to serve in Sochi, which means Red Bull will most certainly replace his engine, dropping the Dutch driver to the bottom of the grid.
Many commentators believe Verstappen’s refusal to back down in wheel-to-wheel battles was shown in the Monza incident. While Hamilton acknowledged that this mentality is reasonable, he went on to say that racing intelligently is what ultimately wins a driver a world title.
“First and foremost, I never expect a driver to give up. That’s not how I race with any of my drivers.
“I believe we all have to be clever and understand that there may be times when you won’t make a corner, but it’s all about making sure you survive to fight at the next corner.”
“You simply find that balance through experience, and you realize it’s not all won on one corner, so there will be other chances.” I know what it’s like to be preparing for your first title fight, and I know how excited you are. During that time, you go through a lot of different experiences and emotions.
“I think we will continue to strengthen, and I am optimistic that we will not have any more occurrences this year.”
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