Lewis Hamilton has dismissed Max Verstappen's claim that he pushed the Formula 1 World Champion off at Turn 3 in the Australian Grand Prix.
A slow start from Verstappen from Pole Position allowed George Russell to take the lead at Turn 1 from a tentative Red Bull, with P3-starting Hamilton getting a run on his former title rival down to the right-hander of Turn 3.
The Mercedes dived up the inside and eased Verstappen wide, taking P2 with the Dutchman complaining that he had been forced off by Hamilton - something he roundly rejected.
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Hamilton rejects Verstappen claim
"I thought it was pretty decent, he braked early and I braked late," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365, after his second place finish - his first podium of the season and sixth runner-up spot at Albert Park.
"I was fully up the inside and I think we both left space for each other. I didn't run him off the road and he didn't turn in on me, so we didn't touch, and that's racing."
The move came in a decent weekend for Mercedes where they looked comfortably clear of Ferrari and were level-pegging in the fight against Aston Martin.
For most of the race after Verstappen passed him on Lap 12 and before the late chaos, Hamilton was engaged in a battle with Fernando Alonso for second and third - the Aston Martin always sitting about one second behind the Mercedes.
The Briton always had enough to fend off his former teammate, but admitted that Aston were still quicker in a crucial area.
"Today we had a shot at trying to at least overtake Max for a second, and we both got ahead, which was amazing, to have a Mercedes one-two for a second," he said.
"Obviously he came sailing by at one stage, but it was a really entertaining race and I had a really good battle with Fernando, which was awesome.
"I think Fernando was a little bit quicker.
"He was in my tow, so I think we were probably slightly quicker on the straight and he was quicker through all the corners, so we definitely have some performance to find.
"It definitely wasn’t easy keeping him at bay, and keeping them out of the DRS zone, but it was really quite interesting just to see where we were lacking, and where we were good.
"[Aston Martin] been ahead the past two races but for us to somehow still finish ahead is pretty awesome. So I'll definitely take it."
Join Balve Baines, RacingNews365.com journalist Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, Editorial Director of RacingNews365.com, to discuss the key talking points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.