Lewis Hamilton says he would not have moved in his fight with Charles Leclerc during the Italian Grand Prix if the Formula 1 title was not on the line.

The pair engaged in a thrilling scrap for the lead of the race at Monza, with Leclerc ultimately coming out on top having resisted attacks from both Mercedes drivers to claim Ferrari’s first victory in Italy since 2010.

One of the major flashpoints of the race saw Hamilton squeezed out wide across the run-off area by Leclerc as the duo ran wheel-to-wheel under braking into the Della Roggia chicane on Lap 23.

The Briton, who holds a 63-point advantage in the championship over teammate Valtteri Bottas, insisted he would have stood his ground had the title fight already been decided.

“I wouldn’t of moved. We would have collided,” Hamilton explained.

Hamilton also stressed he has “zero issue” with Leclerc after initially calling out the Monegasque for driving “dangerously”. Leclerc received a black-and-white warning flag after appearing to move under braking but was ultimately not penalised by the Monza stewards.

“There is zero issue with us and I think he did an exceptional job today and I don’t have any problems with it,” he said. “It is what it is.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone or him but if we have a moment together we might chat for a second. Just to reverse roles and make sure he is cool if he is in that position when that happens.

“If he’s cool with that then that’s how we will be racing. There is no issue. From what I knew going into the race I was supposed to leave a gap and now I don’t know if that’s the case as it is unsure over the rules.

“But it is good that we are able to race as hard as we want to. We all want to race harder and today was a tough battle which was good.

“There is no lack of respect between drivers,” Hamilton added. “I don’t have a problem, we are not in a fight, I congratulated him straight after I got out of the car.

“I think Charles is one of the most respectable drivers. Today is the first time I’ve really come wheel-to-wheel with him and as I said when you arrive with a new driver you learn how they approach different scenarios.

“Maybe you position your car differently next time, I would do a better job next time, who knows.”

 

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