Lewis Hamilton has cleared the air with Formula 1 rival Max Verstappen following their on-track clash at last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix and the comments that followed, saying he wants to maintain the respect the pair share.

Hamilton called Verstappen a "dickhead"  in the cool-down room after the Red Bull driver made a bold overtake attempt at Turn 1 early in the Bahrain race, resulting in contact between the two drivers. Verstappen retired following the incident after sustaining a puncture, while Hamilton went on to finish on the podium.

Verstappen said on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix that it was "simple and easy to blame the younger driver", adding that he saw nothing wrong with the move.

Hamilton was asked later in the day about Verstappen's comments, and revealed he shook hands with the Dutchman between their respective media appearances to try and clear the air.

"I generally do my talking on the track. After this incident I didn’t," Hamilton said.

"But I just saw Max for example just now. I think it’s always good to show respect. More importantly, being that I’m the older driver, I felt that it was important that I went to him.

"So just as we were just signing just now, I just shook his hand and I was like: ‘Look I’m sorry about the last race.’ Regardless of if it is his fault or my fault, it’s in the past.

"Hopefully, that sign of respect shows a lot and helps you turn the page and move forwards, racing each other and hopefully keeps respect between you as I think that’s important between drivers."

Asked if he would race Verstappen any differently from now on, Hamilton said: "I don’t think so. Look, I have a lot of respect for Max and I hope you can see that from the comments I’ve said about him in testing where he’s got great potential to be the champion.

"As we all know he’s such a talented driver. Jeez, I mean, I was in the same place when I was young, similar age, or older actually. But, still it’s such a learning process being with all the pressure, being in a top team.

"He’s going to have some great races and he’s going to have bad races, just as I will do today, even though I’m much older than him."

During the fan autograph signing session and pit lane walk on Thursday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton and Verstappen shook hands in a public show of reconciliation.

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