Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen: Title rivals up verbal sparring ahead of Russian GP

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen renew their rivalry in Russia this weekend and have already upped their verbal sparring ahead of the race in Sochi.

Two of the modern greats in Formula 1, the pair have provided us with a fabulous season so far and, up until now, have kept it relatively respectful whilst always pushing one another to the limit.

Of course, we can expect a verbal jab now and again, and increasingly so as we approach the climax to this campaign, and that is what we have seen ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton kicked it off and suggested that the pressure will mount on the Dutchman, harking back to his own first title challenge in 2007 where things got away from him in the final races to allow Kimi Raikkonen to take the crown:

"I am just saying I remember what it was like and it definitely mounted up.

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

"There is a lot of pressure. You're working in a big team and there is a lot of self-expectation and pressure because the desire to win is huge. I empathise and understand that. But I know we will continue to grow from this."

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Verstappen, though, suggested he wasn't feeling any pressure at all, joking, "I am so nervous I can barely sleep! It is so horrible to fight for a title."

He added: "If someone knows me, I am very relaxed about all those things.

"I am very chilled. It is the best feeling ever to have a car, a great car, where you can go into every weekend and you can fight for a win.

"Those comments just show you that he really doesn't know me. Which is fine. I also don't really need to know him, how he is fully.

"I just focus on myself and I really enjoy it out there at the front and hopefully we can do that for a very long time."

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The two have been pretty respectful of one another so far this season, despite their on-track collisions and that theme will surely continue, even if they do exchange the occasional barb or two.

It's all part of the dance at the top level of motorsport, and both will be eager to ensure they're the man that emerges victorious when all is said and done.

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