Hamilton explains why “backing out” is often “the sensible option”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton explains why he has often backed out of a fight with Max Verstappen, using Silverstone and Brazil as examples.

In his 2021 battle with Max Verstappen Lewis Hamilton has backed out of an on-track duel in order to avoid a collision several times, for example at Imola and Barcelona, but also more recently in Brazil, when Verstappen pushed him wide and off the track.

The two did come together at Silverstone, but although many described this situation as Lewis not wanting to back down anymore, he explains that was not the case.

“If you’re on the outside of a car, backing out is the sensible option pretty much all the time, in order to see the end of the race,” the Briton told selected media.

“If you’re on the inside, there are scenarios where I truly believe I was in the right. I’m almost wheel to wheel with the car.

“At Silverstone, for example, go and look at the footage: my front wheel was alongside his front wheel, so it wasn’t like my wheel was next to his rear wheel going in.

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“And in that scenario, if I had taken the approach [Max did in Brazil], for example, just stayed on the gas and gone off track and then kept position, what would the scenario have been there? Would they have looked into the rules there?

“I am not too big or too successful to back out to fight another day. I know that is sometimes the route you have to take. You have to be the smarter one. Sometimes you lose points in doing that, for sure, but it’s not just about me.

“I have 2,000 people behind me and, through that selfish decision I could make – ‘No, I’m going to hold my ground’ and don’t finish – that costs all my team potential bonuses at the end of the year, all the hard work they have to do, the damage of the car.

“I am conscious of those things also,” concluded the Briton.

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