Lewis Hamilton says his previous successes have made him a 'target', after he and Max Verstappen collided early in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 2021 title protagonists have not duelled much on track this year, thanks largely to the disparity in competitiveness between Red Bull and Mercedes for much of 2022.
However, the Silver Arrows found some considerable form during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, with George Russell leading Hamilton home at Interlagos for a 1-2 finish and Mercedes' first win of 2022.
Hamilton might have been in a better position to challenge Russell for the lead had he not dropped to ninth after a coming together with Verstappen at the beginning of Lap 7.
For his part, Verstappen had to pit for a new nose and was slapped with a five-second time penalty for his role in the collision, and Hamilton later added that his record-breaking stint in F1 had made him something of a target for Verstappen.
"I'm not concerned," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com.
"I think it's natural when you have the success and the numbers on your chest, that you become a bit of a target.
"But it's okay. It's nothing that I have not dealt with before."
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Hamilton and Verstappen's history of incidents
Hamilton and Verstappen notably had several high-profile collisions in 2021 as the pair duelled for that year's World Championship title.
At the British Grand Prix, a Lap 1 tangle saw Verstappen pitched into the barriers and out of the race at high speed. Hamilton served a time penalty for his role in the collision but would ultimately end up winning the race.
Several races later at Monza, the two collided again, this time resulting in both drivers retiring after Verstappen's car became wedged on top of Hamilton's.
And during that year's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, confusion over whether Verstappen was set to let Hamilton past resulted in the Briton running into the back of the Dutchman's Red Bull, though both cars would go on to finish the race first and second.
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