Thursday, December 2News That Matters

Lewis Hamilton says rival Max Verstappen ‘feels he has a lot to prove’

Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen ‘feels he has a lot to prove’ — a desperation that may cause the pair of them to crash.

The two star drivers narrowly escaped a collision at the opening corner in Spain a fortnight ago and have kept it clean despite some tough wheel-to-wheel combat in the first four races.

But ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix on the cramped streets of motor racing’s most glamorous venue, Hamilton said: ‘I’ve done well to avoid all the incidents so far.

The two star drivers narrowly escaped a collision at the opening corner in Spain a fortnight ago

The two star drivers narrowly escaped a collision at the opening corner in Spain a fortnight ago

They have kept it clean despite some tough wheel-to-wheel combat in the first four races

They have kept it clean despite some tough wheel-to-wheel combat in the first four races

Lewis Hamilton believes his Formula One title rival Max Verstappen ‘feels he has a lot to prove’

‘We’ve got 19 more races and we could connect, but hopefully not.

‘There is a nicely balanced amount of respect between us. Perhaps he feels he has a lot to prove and I’m not necessarily in the same boat there.

‘My mentality is that it is a marathon not a sprint, which is ultimately why I have the stats that I have. So I’ll continue with that and do everything to make sure we avoid connecting.’

Hamilton, 36, has won three races to lead the standings by 14 points, as he chases his eighth title. Verstappen is aiming for his first championship at the age of 23.

Hamilton has won three races to lead the standings by 14 points as he chases his eighth title

Hamilton has won three races to lead the standings by 14 points as he chases his eighth title

Hamilton has won three races to lead the standings by 14 points as he chases his eighth title

Hamilton won in Monaco in 2019, holding off Verstappen as the chequered flag neared.

But the tight circuit, which returns after falling victim to Covid last year, is thought to favour Red Bull this weekend.

‘Red Bull are going to be very, very hard to beat,’ added Hamilton. ‘This is a track that has always been strong for them.’

Meanwhile, McLaren have tied down Lando Norris, 21, on a new three-year deal.