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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: If I don't hold back against Verstappen we will crash more often

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he needs to "hold back" when racing against Max Verstappen to avoid colliding more often.

Hamilton Verstappen rain Imola
To news overview © Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is aware of the need to "hold back" in wheel-to-wheel combat with Max Verstappen, but hopes he can "outsmart him in another way" as the battle for the 2021 F1 title intensifies.

Hamilton and Verstappen clashed for the second time in five races at the Italian Grand Prix, with the stewards deeming that Verstappen was predominantly to blame.

Hamilton has already spoken of how he plans to "create the space that's needed" to avoid another collision during the title run-in, and he knows he will need to treat Verstappen differently to other drivers.

"I am aware of that at times. I have also had times when I was too aggressive [and] I should have held back more," Hamilton told Dutch publication De Telegraaf.

"Now I am much more mature and yes, I do hold back in certain situations when driving against Max. Otherwise, we would crash much more often.

"I try to outsmart him in another way. If I survive that corner, I might be able to beat him through strategy. That's experience and hopefully it will pay off at the end of the season."

Hamilton has no issue with Verstappen's approach, providing the fight "stays healthy".

"Max never gives up, but neither do I," added Hamilton.

"I've raced against a lot of drivers. I've raced against many drivers with that attitude. Some are smarter than others. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.

"But it's nice for the public that new characters are emerging. Incidents sometimes belong in this sport and I think we [can] both easily turn the switch again. As long as we stay healthy."

Hamilton leads Verstappen by two points in the standings after the pair finished first and second respectively at the Russian Grand Prix.

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