Mercedes driver Hamilton heads into the Mexico race weekend trailing Verstappen by 12 factors within the combat for the drivers’ championship with 5 races remaining.
The 2 drivers have crashed collectively twice this yr – at Silverstone and at Monza – and nearly had a run-in throughout observe for america Grand Prix two weeks in the past.
Hamilton and Verstappen went side-by-side by way of a collection of corners in FP2 on Friday, with Verstappen finally backing out after being handed at Flip 1. The Pink Bull driver raised his center finger as Hamilton pulled away, and called him a “stupid idiot” over the radio.
Hamilton spoke about his dealing with of the title combat strain throughout Thursday’s FIA press convention in Mexico after being requested how he averted making their battle private.
“I’ve been right here for a very long time, it’s not my first rodeo,” Hamilton mentioned.
“I believe on the core of every little thing, there needs to be respect. Once I take into consideration, and I hear the issues that come out of drivers’ mouths, I do assume there are children watching us, and so they’re trying to us for inspiration and for steerage.
“There was lots of issues which were mentioned, which is certainly not good for younger children which might be watching. For me, I’m simply making an attempt to stay optimistic and hold calm, and once more, simply be respectful to the drivers that I’m preventing.
“If I’ve a reputation in my head of what I believe they’re, I don’t share that. But it surely’s fairly simple for me. You snigger it off, and you progress forwards.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing RB16B
Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Hamilton expanded on his lack of overly emotional responses to setbacks or defeats this yr by once more citing his expertise in F1 title battles. Whereas Hamilton is a seven-time world champion, Verstappen is at present preventing for his first world title.
“I’ve been right here a very long time, I discovered quite a bit in my time,” Hamilton mentioned.
“And likewise, I do know, Max has not gained a championship in an extended, very long time.
“So I do know what it’s like going on your first championship, significantly within the sport, I do know the pressures that include that, and so it’s nothing lower than I anticipated from him.
“He’s nonetheless a teenager, and he’s going to be rising an enormous quantity over the following decade, which I believe everybody will likely be excited to see. I simply try to if I can, lead by instance.
“As a result of as I mentioned, I do know that I’ve lots of children significantly which might be racing, which might be what I do and what I say.
“And that’s vital for me.”
The excessive altitude situations on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico Metropolis are anticipated to play to Pink Bull’s strengths, with the crew having sometimes executed properly on the observe up to now.
Requested by Autosport concerning the significance of breaking Pink Bull’s momentum quickly to make sure Verstappen doesn’t pull too far forward within the champion, Hamilton mentioned it was “naturally up and down” between the 2 groups.
“We thought that we’d be stronger, for instance, in someplace like Austin,” Hamilton mentioned.
“They had been fairly a bit stronger than us within the race. So I actually can’t predict it.
“What I do know is final yr, they out-qualified us right here, and so they had been down on energy in comparison with us by way of the yr. Now they’re forward on energy, there or thereabouts, and so they’ve obtained a really robust automobile that’s been affected much less by the adjustments within the guidelines, that we had been affected by.
“So that they’re going to be fast this weekend. Final yr I believe they had been nearly half a second forward of us. Our automobile just isn’t higher than final yr’s automobile, I might say with these adjustments.
“It’ll be attention-grabbing to see how we fare with them this weekend.”