Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash, Monza, 2021

Experience teaches you to “be smart” in risky moves – Hamilton

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he has learned from experience when not to risk an overtaking move which is unlikely to succeed.

He made the remarks following his second collision with championship rival Max Verstappen this year. The pair tangled at Monza while the Red Bull driver was trying to overtake the Mercedes.

The two drivers previously collided at Silverstone. The seven-times world champion suggested Verstappen’s lack of experience in championship contests is leading him to take more risks.

“I’m putting all the energy into moving forwards,” said Hamilton. “Naturally we’re battling for a championship. I remember what it was like battling for my first championship and obviously I’m fighting in my tenth battle, something like that. But I remember what it was like and I know the pressures that comes with it and the experience that go with it so I can empathise with that.

“I think what’s important is that we continue to race hard but fair. I have no doubt that we will both be professional and learn from the past.”

The stewards ruled Verstappen was predominantly to blame for the collision and have given him a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s race. Hamilton said drivers learn from experience when to back out of fights for position which they aren’t going to win.

“I never expect a driver to back down,” he said. “That’s not how I approach racing any drivers.

“I think ultimately we all have to be smart and know there’s a time that you’re not going make a corner. It’s all about making sure you live to fight the next corner. And that’s really just through experience you find that balance and you know that it’s not all won on one corner so there will be other opportunities.

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“As I said I know what it’s like having your first fight for your first championship and your eagerness, you go through lots of different experiences and emotions during that time. I do believe that we’ll continue to get stronger and I’m hopeful we won’t have any more incidents through the year.”

Asked whether he felt Verstappen was feeling the pressure of the championship fight, Hamilton said: “Obviously he won’t admit to it, I’m not going to make an assumption.

“But I’m just saying I remember 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, it’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 was just saying that I empathise and understand that. But I know that we will continue to grow from this.”

However Hamilton said he felt the burden of pressure much more strongly in his first championship fight than he does today.

“It’s a lot easier to handle than my first one. But I’ve been here a long time so it’s much easier to deal with it now.

“In my first year I was very young and didn’t have the tools to be able to handle the sort of pressures that were being put on me so it’s a lot different for me.”

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38 comments on “Experience teaches you to “be smart” in risky moves – Hamilton”

  1. This must have been a recent realization. What with the lack of backing out at Silverstone and stuff.

    1. I thought it was when Ham backed out in Spain, or maybe when he backed out in Brooklands when Max decided to do his usual get out my way or crash move?
      I’ll give him a bye on the Copse one this time though. Must of been too tempting to go for it. First Max goes defensive for no apparent reason in Luffield giving Ham the run down the old Pit Straight. Then for some inexplicable reason Max goes to close the inside off, falls for Ham dummying him, and ends up leaving himself off the racing line completely exposed on the outside. You can’t expect any driver, least of all Hamilton, to turn down two invites like that.

      1. Have you ever watched the cars race on copse? The line is outside to inside to outside

        Of course max turned in to the inside line, that was the racing line.

        1. Indeed, an invite for hamilton? If his idea was crashing, sure.

        2. Have you ever watched Max trying to get back on the racing line right after he tried; and failed, to shut the door on Hamilton? Have you ever watched Bottas, Hamilton, Alonso, etc, take the lead through Copse by going up the inside because the other drivers, like Max, made rookie errors in Luffield and left the door open going into Copse?

  2. Your experience teaches you to back out of risky moves? Tell that to Albon – twice, or Verstappen in Silverstone.

    1. The Albon moves weren’t risky. He just messed up at Brazil. The 2nd Albon incident wasnt risky either. Albon was the one being “risky”. He was overtaking, was he not?

      1. Lewis hit Alex at the exit of the corner, where both were accelerating out of it. At that point each driver decides how early to get on the gas in order to not drift too wide. Alex went as wide as the track allowed for, Lewis still hit him.
        It did not feel like Lewis was particularly ‘smart’ to me.
        I just hope there was no intent. Alex could have won that race!

      2. @deanr Wrong tense – he had overtaken. The move was done.

        1. Clearly not! They touched.

      3. Interesting how you class crashing into an opponent twice not “risky”

        1. Well… if you want to be that obtuse then just being on a race track is a risk. We wont agree on this so I’ll just say “Have a good day”

    2. Funny thing is Hamilton did try to back off which was why he didn’t end up wheel to wheel in Brazil.
      The second incident was Albon coming from behind and doing what Max did in Silverstone, cutting in too soon.
      Albon had the pace he just needed to maintain a foot more space cause he had lots of space to his left.
      Penalising Hamilton for that move is what gave Verstappen the impression he could do the same thing in Italy.

  3. It could be argued that Lewis is feeling the pressure this season as well:
    In Imola he skidded off track
    In Baku he made an error on the restart
    The Silverstone incident

    In also unsure if Lewis driving over the kerbs at Austria which resulted in a slower car could be classed as an error (please correct me if I’m wrong)
    These seem uncharacteristic of the Lewis we’ve seen since his battles with Rosberg.

    Him and Max are two brilliant drivers, at the absolute top of their game and it’s no surprise that either of them are feeling the pressure. We’re starting to get into the part of the season where any small mistake could cost them the title

    1. @djarvis I agree about Imola and Silverstone, but I think that the Baku thing was rather a weird fluke than an error. Or at least it was not a driving error per se (going too fast on a corner, pushing too hard, spinning, etc.).

      1. Pressing the wrong button on your steering wheel is a racing incident, no matter how you spin doctors try to make out otherwise

        1. Calm down, I’m not spinning anything, just sharing my opinion. From what I understood, it was not pressing a wrong button but rather bumping into a lever. That is just not in the same category, for me, as miscalculating the track grip in Imola. Cockpits are tight, steering wheels are dense with buttons and levers. It is ultimately his error, but having a race destroyed by a slight touch to a lever because of a quick movement of hands in the wheel (to avoid Perez) seems more of a design issue of the steering wheel than of a driver feeling pressure.

    2. Personally I think that’s none sense.

      Imola he was slightly off line when passing a back marker. A mistake yes, but I wouldn’t put it down to any kind of pressure. He was just pushing hard and ran slightly offline in tricky conditions.

      Baku he accidentally caught his hand when he turned quickly to avoid Perez. Again a mistake, but I hardly see how any kind of pressure played a part. He actually got a great start which is usually where the pressure shows itself.

      Silverstone I’d say Hamilton had just had enough of Max’s none sense. Running him wide all season, banging wheels down the straight, chopping across in late defending.

      I don’t see how pressure plays any part in those incidents at all. Silverstone maybe as he’s deciding to play Max at his own game but I wouldn’t consider that Championship pressure.

      1. @ben I suppose my point was, if someone was making the link between Lewis and being under pressure, that we rarely see one error by Lewis in a season, let alone three.

        Maybe it’s just bad luck and nothing to do with championship pressure, it was just an observation.

        1. Has Lewis really been under pressure since 2016?
          I don’t think so.
          Yes, there was a slightly competitive Ferrari, but the rules clarifications quickly handled that threat.

  4. Here for the comments from the Dutch! 🍿

    1. So you troll and bait and then no doubt complain when people do post

  5. Lewis is right! Max is too over zealous!

  6. Ah so the experience of leaving space for Norris gave you the idea to slam the door shut on Max?

    Thanks Lewis

    1. my thoughts exactly. people forget the first lap at Monza. But I guess Lewis doesnt consider Lando as a contender to his title like he does with Max. Maybe that was why he gave Lando plenty of room but not Max. Thing is, Lando, and this may sound crazy, is still in this title hunt. Max and Lewis could carry on taking each other out and Lando could sneak the title in the same way Kimi did in 07. And that would please me greatly :)

    2. There is pale blue, light blue, blue, navy blue etc.
      Not all scenarios are exactly alike.

    3. Good one! This guy is so full of .. well, you know

  7. Lewis Hamilton says he has learned from experience when not to risk an overtaking move which is unlikely to succeed.

    One would hope.

    Reply moderated
  8. Smart, as in: Just take out your opponent and not both.

    1. Smart as in: Only do it when you yourself have less to lose

  9. Experience teaches you to “be smart” in risky moves – Hamilton

    So true. Like deliberately pushing people off or crashing and make it look like poor driving, yet always coming out of it unscathed. He’s the master of that.

  10. So, clearly, HAM needs loads more experience…

  11. Racing incident is a racing incident.

  12. To quote Nico, “being on the outside of Lewis in a corner is never going to end well”.

    1. And everything they did were racing incidents. All of them. Except for Austria 2016.

    2. Neither is being on the inside apparently.

  13. With reference to the title and quote: well, apparently it doesn’t

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