The two have been fighting tooth and nail since the start of the year and with just two Grands Prix left to run, in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi respectively, we’re still none the wiser, really, as to who is going to be the Drivers’, and Constructors’, champions this campaign.
Hamilton, as he has always seemed to be in his career, is once again in the fight and over the years he has battled some of the greats including Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel & Kimi Raikkonen, but Max Verstappen has proven another different proposition altogether this year.
Indeed, the two have had their fair share of flashpoints so far, including at Silverstone, Monza and most recently Sao Paulo, and Lewis admits that when he is racing Max he goes into it knowing there’s a chance of incident.
“Rather than giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you have to know that’s what’s going to happen,” Hamilton said to the BBC.
“So you always have to be ready to avoid a collision at all costs, [even] if it means going wide, because you want to see the end of the race, right? If you’re stubborn and you hold your ground, you’re going to crash.
“So that’s what I’ve just tried to do. I’ve tried to make sure I avoid the collision. And I think I’ve been pretty decent at it in most scenarios. You can’t always get it perfect.”
Of course, both drivers have been given penalties this year for their part in some of the incidents, though Hamilton maintains he’d not change anything about the one that got him a sanction at the British Grand Prix, before saying you need to try and be smarter in battles to try and win a championship:
“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,” he says. “If you’re on the inside, there are scenarios where I truly believe I was in the right, [when] 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.
“And in that scenario, if I had taken the approach [Max did] for example [in Brazil], 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?
“But anyways. I don’t mind being the one that… I am not too big or too successful to have 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.
“And 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.”