Verstappen fight was “what a championship battle should look like” – Hamilton

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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[raceweekendpromotion]Lewis Hamilton says his battle for the lead with rival Max Verstappen in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix is how a duel for the drivers’ championship should be fought.

The two title contenders competed for the win of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in close fight which saw the pair almost clash for the third time this season, when they ran wide at turn four. Hamilton was able to pass the Red Bull driver to secure the victory later in the race.

Despite controversy over the race stewards’ decision not to investigate the incident at turn four, Hamilton said he enjoyed the wheel-to-wheel contest with his rival.

“It was fun,” Hamilton said. “I mean, that’s what a world championship battle should look like.”

Hamilton said he struggled to keep close to the leading Red Bull before he had an opportunity approaching the Descida do Lago on lap 48.

“In front of me, he generally could match my pace,” Hamilton explained.

“I would say particularly more so in the last sector – it was very, very difficult to follow in the last sector and be able to get as good an exit as he got through through turn 12. So I kept coming up the straight and it wasn’t that easy to be in his DRS. And even if I was in the DRS zone, it was a bit too far away.

“I had that one chance into turn four, but just couldn’t hold it. Obviously it didn’t work out. And then I obviously had that experience and just made sure that I didn’t make that mistake again, but I was adamant and determined to get back into that position.”

Asked about Verstappen’s defending during the incident at turn four, Hamilton had no objections to the championship leader’s driving and said he “wouldn’t expect anything less” from such a contest.

“In the heat of the moment – I don’t really know,” Hamilton said. “I think I was ahead initially and then I think he held his ground and then we both ran out of road. Well, I think he was running out of road, so then I obviously had to avoid to go out of road.

“But I don’t think too too much of it, and I’d obviously have to watch the replay. But I mean, it’s hard battling. I wouldn’t expect anything less, really. We didn’t touch wheels, which is good.”

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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48 comments on “Verstappen fight was “what a championship battle should look like” – Hamilton”

  1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    14th November 2021, 21:41

    I think Hamilton has sensed that he’s come out of this weekend with both momentum behind him and a fair share of new backing from some more neutral folks.
    All worked out in the end really!

    1. I don’t think he’s got much of that. Neutral folks (like me) want change, it’s only natural. He’s got much better car than anyone else for years now, he’s also one of the best drivers, I’d like to see something new. I suppose you’re talking about “hard racing” from Verstappen, but Hamilton is the same (he did that to Verstappen this season, he did worse with Albon in recent years and twice, he did race hard with Rosberg, mutually of course, etc., etc.). I don’t expect them to be soft and I can hardly imagine being different myself, if I was in their position. Most “ordinary” people, those neutrals you talk about, are much dirtier when they play with racing sims for example, and they race for their own amusement only, with nothing to win. But yes, we can always act politically correct and pretend and expect drivers to never race each other except on the straights, doing DRS overtakes being 2m apart.

  2. He should be careful what he wishes for, they were centimeters from contact and that could have turned out in any possible way. His DNF, both DNF or just Verstappen DNF.

    Generally, Verstappen can still afford to be the more aggressive one of the two, so Ham should be aware of that. Today it worked for him in the end.

    1. Lewis can play the mature one because he got it in the end. If he did not, he would have reacted differently looking at his reactions in the past.
      That said, since FIA protect dangerous driving from Verstappen when he arrived he never got a lesson.
      Imagine if Mercedes did not had that huge advantage…a crash certainly.

      1. As I think most of the people here who have raced would attest, when you are racing wheel to wheel, the “battlefield” ebbs and flows with the positions of the cars. I’ve gone off, pair-wise, many times like they did, and it is usually more of a “both drivers went in too hot to stay on”, because drivers play relative to each other (braking point and trail rate, etc). IOW, sort of playing chicken to make the corner, so both often miss together.

        I think that is really why Lewis said that, because it is true. Racing often looks just like that, from karts, through the ladder, to the top. I just wish the top looked like that more often. Hot, but no contact.

  3. Attaboy.

    Although this may very well be the mature response of someone who has seen the pendulum swing.

  4. Listening to the PLC’s two race driver commentators have different thoughts on that corner was interesting. Seems Lewis thought it was just hard racing, so that should be the end of it.

    Both drove really well today, but Lewis just excelled. Whoever wins the championship will have totally earned it

    1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      14th November 2021, 21:56

      To the contrary LH has been in F1 for many years. While it may shock us what happened when MV pushed him out and got no penalty – he expected that. He took clear avoiding action and knew exactly what MV was trying to action. He is probably a bigger man than you and I for brushing it aside and focussing on his next battle.

      MV and RB know what they were trying to do. They know they failed.

    2. @zapski Before the PR people got to him, Hamilton called it “Crazy” though and rightly so.

      1. Selective quotes, your back on your normal low level I see :)

        1. Your comments are not interesting or welcome. This forum does not need the biased posts and offensive comments on other people (here @f1osaurus) you often make. Please bear this in mind when you next contribute.

    3. Yes, I enjoyed those two discussing different points of view on the matter as well @zapski.

      I don’t think Hamilton felt it was “just hard racing” really, but then since he won, and has got a good confidence boosting experience from the whole weekend, there really is not much gained from looking back.

  5. This is exactly what I want to see, hard racing but no DNFs, and preferably faster driver winds up on top of the podium.

    Both running wide good, both outbreaking eachother good, crashing not good.

    1. Crash only didn’t happen because of Lewis. If Lewis stayed on the racingline, they would’ve crashed. Don’t want to bring up the past, but Silverstone could’ve been avoided by Max. He’s such a great driver, but he just doesn’t learn.

      1. Same for Hamilton, he could also turned in sharper in Silverstone and avoided hitting Max. But he didn’t, same when he hits Albon in Brazil or in Austria… He is such a great driver but he just doesn’t learn.

      2. He does learn indeed. He learns that he can get away with it.

  6. Susprisingly -and uncharacteristic- level-headed remark, good stuff for once.

    Fanchildren who have made all sort of laughable comments should take note of their idol. And Toto Wolff should too, but the bloke is beyond the point of no return.

    1. I think a lot of this is from Silverstone though and Red Bull’s dirty driving comments, Albon in the simulator, putting a guy in hospital, etc. Hamilton is a better man than me to brush that aside like he did. I don’t think it’s _just_ the fanchildren as you call them, Horner and Marko said some pretty despicable things at the time that many of the Mercedes team have not forgotten.

    2. Yes, Lewis seems to distance himself from the toxic Mercedes narratives. And he should as he is much bigger than this team, especially Toto. Good to see as I was really starting to dislike Lewis. Maybe he has found his way back (out of this horrible team) again. Keep it up!

  7. Looking at all the fans screaming about dirty racing and calling for penalties I would assume a lot of them are very angry at Hamilton for saying that is “what a championship battle should look like”. This is not the sort of racing the fans want to see.

    1. You should read the article again. Lewis is talking about the wheel to wheel fight in general and make a distinctive exception about the incident, waiting to review the video…. and patting himself on the back for not touching wheels, one way of showing Max and Horner how its done .

  8. Hamilton basically made up 25 positions in one race (15 yesterday, 10 today) and passed his championship rival to win. So he should be happy with his work. I disagree about Max’s racing though, he dodged two penalties in my view, both ridiculously blatant infringements, forcing Hamilton off-track and the clearest weaving I’ve ever seen in Formula 1. As with Leclerc versus Hamilton at Monza, Masi resorted to ‘nothing to see’ followed by a wave of his little black and white flag. Sure it was good to see Hamilton get past anyway. But Verstappen will very clearly do the same again. A DNF for Hamilton or both of them in the kind of incident we saw today at corner 4 Interlagos and the title is his. I don’t see Verstappen resisting temptation.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      15th November 2021, 1:11

      If you start 10th and finish 1st you’ve only made up 9 positions.

      20th -> 5th = 15 positions
      10th -> 1st = 9 positions

      1. True, 24, though 25 if you count having to pass Max and FIA to win first place.

        1. I think FIA got even lapped yesterday.

    2. I wish lewis could do hard racing like max. Max in this sense is unmatchable, unfortunately. I was glad that lewis was hard in british gp and thought he will continue in the coming races, but he went back to soft racing again. I mean, come on, this year would be the year he must retain his racing crafts he showed against massa/alonso in 2007-2008. But I believe with the age his aggression and agility wend down.

      It’s quite clear that max would win against lewis in the same machinery. Lewis needs a much better car to win races these days. He should quit racing this year if he wins WDC.

      1. What are you smoking?

        1. Just a case of: I have nothing to criticise Lewis about so I’ll invent something.
          Bore off Turbo

  9. I think his comments would be very different if that had been the only chance he had to get past, and he’d ended up second…

  10. Hamilton was clearly not watching his race on sky sports f1. I think someon could have tipped him off that Sky had managed to convince almost everyone that there was something off about the move, besides both cars running out of road. Brundle shades of 97

  11. Respect for Hamilton: they didn’t have contact, he avoided it. It was a battle between two great drivers. Hamilton did a impressive job on both occasions, The sprint race and the race. Love to see more fights.

  12. Hamilton is saying this in a hope that he will be allowed to be a “Verstappen” in the next races.
    Don’ t be naive, Lewis! You must not to forget to hit the apex in every corner otherwise FIA and Masi will penalise you with 10 second penalty for not hitting the apex!

  13. If Lewis wouldnt have won, his narrative would be the opposite regarding the incident. Max got away here imho, both with the stewards and with Lewis. Lewis finally seems to understand how to play Max. Just focus on yourself and breathe confidence. The Mercedes created narrative on crazy Verstappen simply doesnt work in Max’ head. He is immune to criticism, but might be impressed by a confident Lewis.

    1. I like your thinking.

  14. DRS was way too powerful at Sao Paulo GP

    1. Drs and the new engine a total of 306max versus 335lewis km /u.

  15. That was a great comment from Lewis. Having faster car and managed to cut trough every drivers in two days obviously help his mood.

    1. @ruliemaulana, do you think his car was inherently so much faster than Bottas’? Bottas’ PU is not old at all, so I do not think there was a huge difference in the cars. I reckon Lewis is on a mission to overcome what he sees as adversity, which helps him to perform better. I think that is one of his greatest motivators. What do you think?

        1. @ruliemaulana You still have to make it work. It’s almost laughable that the Hamilton detractors can’t recognise the skill in driving through the entire grid (plus some) without picking up damage or wrecking your tyres. Verstappen is praised for his cede-or-crash mentality (aided and abetted by FIA). Yet the real skill is avoiding those crashes while pushing through the field, something Max is capable of doing, but not quite with the same finesse and supreme control as Hamilton. I’ve been doubting him myself this year a lot of the time, but the São Paulo GP was as good as I’ve ever seen him drive. It was an iconic performance and will be remembered in the sport in decades time – presuming F1 is still around then.

          1. True. You still need a great driver to make it work.

  16. When Silverstone happened Horner Karenina tried appealing the steward’s ruling. To do so he had to have found new evidence of Lewis’ wrongdoing.

    In this case it would be clear as water since they have admitted the decision was made without any significant information available to them. I can understand Mercedes not wanting to rock the boat much but they’re fully within their rights to contest such a biased and stupid ruling. That deserved a penalty.

  17. Verstappen only needs 1 victory and 2 3th places to become WDC in my calculation. This is 55 points + 14 points lead Max = 69 points needed by Lewis to become WDC in last 3 races. If Lewis wins 2 races and becomes 2nd in the other race is 68 points. Fastest laps cannot be a decider i think because Red Bull will always sacrifice Perez to take the fastest lap away by Lewis if need be and Lewis can’t respond because Max is in his pit window most likely. So Quatar will be crucial in my book because Jeddah street circuit is about raw power so no way Max can beat Mercedes at this track. Max really need to win this one because if not everything is decided in Abu Dhabi.

    1. Actually Lewis need at least 70 points in last 3 races in my calculation above. Because when they have same amount of points than Max wil win WDC because he has more victories. This means even if Lewis has 1 fastest lap in last 3 races than still this isn’t enough!

  18. I just read something interesting and worrying at the same time. That Mercedes is planning to give Hamilton 3 fresh engines at the remaining 3 races. It isn’t against the rules but I don’t like this methods at all. I want fair and racing. Not this kind of strategics.

    1. Fair racing as in sending Hamilton to the back of the grid after qualifying, that kind?
      Mercedes may feel that FIA have given every indication that they will penalize Mercedes and Hamilton for anything at all in an attempt to get a new champion and/or appease Red Bull. So why not maximize their chances given Hamilton could well be starting further down the grid on some Red Bull-identified infringement?
      Or then again, maybe it’s more double-bluffing. Either way, I don’t see the issue in Mercedes making such a call, if that rumour has any basis in truth.

      1. The penalty was very hard indeed. Not Hamilton’s fault at all. But it was wider than allowed. So are the rules. But not that is matters for Hamilton. He won by a mile thanks to his party mode engine. It works plendid. I think Qatar with the Brazil engine. Then another new one for Arabia and Abu Dhabi. This championship is over.

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