The pair have gone wheel-to-wheel at each of the opening four races this year but so far, despite their tight battle for the world championship, have managed to keep things clean.

Both Hamilton and Verstappen believe they can avoid a coming together due to the respect they have for one another, while McLaren boss Zak Brown said he thinks it is only a matter of time before they clash on track.

Hamilton and Verstappen made light contact at the start at Imola and nearly came to blows at Turn 1 in Spain, but on both occasions Hamilton backed out to avoid a bigger collision.

“I’ve done well to avoid all the incidents so far but we’ve got 19 more [races] to go,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. “We could connect, hopefully not.

“I think the good thing is there is a nice balanced amount of respect between us. Perhaps, as you know, he feels that he has a lot to prove but I am not necessarily in the same boat there.

“I am more long term, ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’, sort of mentality, which is ultimately why I have the stats that I have.

“So I will continue with that and I will do everything to make sure that we avoid connecting.”

Hamilton won the last race in Monaco after successfully fending off Verstappen’s relentless attacks in 2019, but the seven-time world champion reckons Red Bull could hold the upper hand this time around.

“We don’t know what to expect,” he explained. “Red Bull were incredibly close two years ago.

“It’s a much different car, we have different tyres. Red Bull are going to be very, very hard to beat this weekend. This is a track that has always been strong for them and, given how close the gap is between us, you can imagine this weekend they could be ahead.

“But we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that’s not the case.”