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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: Verstappen isn't the first driver to race me like this

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has said that Max Verstappen isn't the first driver to race him so aggressively, picking out another rival who he felt was also unwilling to yield in battle.

Article
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has said that Max Verstappen isn't a unique rival in terms of his approach, and that he has had to race just as hard against others on track before.

With Hamilton and Verstappen colliding twice on track so far this season, as they battle for the title, as well as having several other close calls, Hamilton explained that a former teammate of his was similarly hard to race against.

"Max is not the first person [like that]," Hamilton told ESPN.

"I've always had a target on my back. I've always been at the front since I was young. I had No.1 on my car for many years even before I got to Formula 1.

"Even [Fernando] Alonso would never give up. I've raced against a lot of drivers that do that. Some are smarter than others and I know that, again, there's other corners [later in the lap] and it's a marathon, not a sprint. Some drivers are right to the point of it being not right, and then are able to control it, and some don't.

"I guess the most important thing is to make sure we stay safe, because at the end of the day with all this excitement and this championship, the one thing we want to see at the end of the year is people going home to their families and having a good winter."

Hamilton added that he's hoping his long-term view towards a championship will end up being decisive in the battle with Verstappen.

"Yes, I've had to back out of certain scenarios with Max because otherwise we are going to crash, and I'm just like, 'I'll beat him in another way,'" he said.

"I think, 'If I can just survive this corner, I will challenge and fight him another way, stay close, use strategy and all these different things'.

"But that comes with experience and I really do hope that that pays dividends at the end of the year. Of course, you have just got to find the right balance. That's really what I'm just trying to do.

"I know he'll probably learn from the experience, as I will. I can't expect things to change, so I will just try to apply myself better moving forward, and that's all I can control in my space."

Lewis Hamilton claimed his 100th Grand Prix win to move into the championship lead, but it's Red Bull and Max Verstappen who will be happiest after the Russian Grand Prix.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Russian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Russian Grand Prix straight from Sochi

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