Lewis Hamilton believes Sunday’s incident with Max Verstappen was just “hard battling” and was relieved they didn’t “touch wheels” at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton and Verstappen were on the cusp of disaster in Brazil after the seven-time world champion overcame a rollercoaster of a weekend to take victory at Interlagos.
After carving his way through the pack, Hamilton made his way from tenth to second as he chased down the championship leader who was leading the race.
But the pair nearly tangled as Hamilton pounced on Verstappen on lap 48, heading towards Turn 4.
Verstappen defended hard into the corner with Hamilton on the outside, before bumping across the run-off area on the exit of Turn 4.
The stewards noted the incident but ultimately felt it didn’t need much more investigating and the race continued without any penalties.
Hamilton eventually swept past Verstappen on lap 59 to take a spectacular win over his main title rival and cut the points difference to just 14 points.
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“I think I was ahead initially, and I think he held his ground and we both ran out of road,” said Hamilton speaking after the win he dedicated to his father. “Well, I think he was running out of road, so I obviously had to avoid going out of road – but I mean, I didn’t think too much of it and obviously I’ll have to watch the replay, but it’s hard battling and wouldn’t expect anything less really.
“We didn’t touch wheels, which is good.”
After the race, Hamilton said he learned a lesson from that first attempt to overtake, and approached it slightly differently at the second go, eventually handing Mercedes a win.
“I got into Turn 1, I got to kind-of dummy him as such into Turn 1,” continued Hamilton. “I was either going to dive super-late into Turn 1, so then he had to block, and I got to be able to position the car correctly through Turns 1 and 2, and I already knew through Three that I would have a far better slingshot past him because I was closer.
“At that point, I just knew I was ahead going into the braking zone, so yeah.
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“And after that, it was really trying to keep him out of my DRS, which wasn’t too difficult because I guess it’s hard to follow behind.
“It’s just the first one lap, I think the first lap, or the first lap he got around, just making sure, but it was fine after that.
“It was tough. In front of me, he generally could match my pace. I would say particularly or more so in the last sector.
“It was very, very difficult to follow in the last sector and to get as good an exit as he did in 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.
“But I just kept trying, just kept pushing. Obviously, I had that one chance into Turn 4 but I couldn’t hold it. We…
“Yeah, it didn’t work out.
“Then I saw I 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.
“Yeah, it was fine. This is what a World Championship battle should look like.”