The 2021 title rivals engaged in a first-lap fight for position in Sunday’s race at Melbourne, with Hamilton emerging from Turn 3 ahead of the Red Bull driver after diving down the inside. 

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Verstappen and Hamilton almost made contact at the apex of the corner but ultimately avoided coming to blows, with both remaining inside the white lines of the race track. 

But the reigning world champion was left unhappy with the way that Hamilton overtook him. 

"Of course, my lap one wasn't amazing but I know that we have a quick car so there is no need to be aggressive and risk damage on the car,” Verstappen told Sky.

"The others realised their chance is the other way around so that is why they were aggressive, which is fair enough. I would probably do the same if it was the other way around.

“I think with these new rules that are set out that if you are racing from the outside, if you are ahead at the apex, you need to be given space at the exit, which I thought I wasn't because I was literally avoiding being crashed into.

"I will raise it but I also don't really want to make it a big thing.

"But when the rules were written like that I thought they would be respected.

“But it’s okay, I was quite careful of lap one, I could have probably defended a bit better, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

He earlier reacted: "I tried to avoid contact. It’s quite clear, with the rules, on what you’re allowed to do from the outside. Clearly, it’s not followed. But that’s okay - we had good pace so we passed them anyway."

Verstappen later pulled off an easy pass on Hamilton to retake the lead on his way to claiming his second victory of the season and his first win at Melbourne. 

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who secured Mercedes’ best result of the season with second, saw nothing wrong with his first-lap skirmish with Verstappen. 

“I thought it was pretty decent,” he said. 

“He braked early, I braked late and I was fully up the inside and we both left space for each other. 

“I didn’t run him off the road, he didn’t turn in on me, so we didn’t touch and that’s racing.”