Lewis to Max: ‘I know what it’s like to fight for your first championship’

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After their crash at Monza, Lewis Hamilton said he understands Max Verstappen’s “eagerness” and the pressure he feels while fighting to his first Formula 1 title.

After the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix (for which the stewards determined the Dutch driver was to blame), Hamilton said he expects they will be “professional” and “learn from the past”.

“What is important is that we continue to race hard, but fair,” Lewis said.

“I have no doubts that we will both be professional and learn from the past. I never expect a driver to back down. That’s not how I approach racing with any drivers.

“I think ultimately we all have to be smart and know there is a time you’re not going to make a corner but it’s all about making sure you live to fight at the next corner.

“That’s really just through experience you find that balance and you know it’s not all won on one corner, so there will be other opportunities.

“I know what it’s like having the fight for your first championship and your eagerness and you go through lots of different experiences and emotions during that time.

“So as I said I do believe that we will continue to get stronger and I’m hopeful that we won’t have any more incidents through the year.”

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The Briton was then asked if he believes the pressure of the title fight is getting to Verstappen.

“Obviously he won’t admit to it and I’m not going to make an assumption, but I’m just saying I remember what it was like when I had my first one and it definitely mounted up.

“It was difficult, it was intense, I was going through a lot of different emotions, I didn’t always handle it the best and that’s to be expected.

“There’s a lot of pressure, you’re working in a big team, there’s a lot of self-expectation and pressure because the desire to win is huge.

“So I’m just saying I empathize and I understand that, but I know that we will continue to grow from this.

When asked if he believes he can use his superior experience to his advantage, Lewis said:

“Time will. I hope so. Of course it has been an incredibly difficult year. It’s not been smooth sailing in terms of our performance as a team with the car and everything, but I hope so.

“Naturally there’s been a lot of learnings over the course of these first 11, 12, 13 races or whatever we’ve had, so I hope we see that moving forwards,” concluded the seven-time champion.

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