As the Formula 1 season draws to a close, Lewis Hamilton says he is faster and in better shape than ever before. However, the reigning world champion has to admit that he is extra cautious when it comes to overtaking or defending Max Verstappen.
In Brazil it became clear again that the Red Bull driver has not an inch left in defending his position. “You have to be very careful with that, more careful than ever,” Hamilton explained in conversation with Auto, Motor und Sport. “You have to know what to expect and be prepared to avoid a collision.”
“Even if you have to drive outside the circuit, because of course you want to finish the race. If you are too stubborn and defend your position, you will crash,” said Hamilton. We saw evidence of this at Silverstone and Monza. The two drivers gave each other too little space, which led to high-profile crashes.
Verstappen ‘not the first driver to do this’
Hamilton said he did everything he could to avoid a collision with Verstappen in Brazil. “I’m always pretty reasonable in these kinds of situations, I think.” The experience of the seven-time world champion helps him with this. According to Hamilton, his 2021 title rival is not the first to defend hard and push the limit.
“Now that I’m a bit older, I look a bit more at the characteristics of the other drivers and their personal backgrounds,” explains the Mercedes driver. “How you grew up has an impact on how you behave, so I always try to understand that.”
All in all, Hamilton has learned not to risk everything in an attack sometimes. “You have to be smarter. Sometimes you lose some points. However, it’s not just about me, I have 2,000 employees behind me. It’s selfish if I keep driving where I want to and can’t finish the race.”