Hamilton and Verstappen unfazed by prospect of F1 title-deciding clash

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton isn’t concerned about the prospect of losing this year’s drivers’ championship to Max Verstappen because of a race-ending incident.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post race FIA Press Conference.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull…
© FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

After 21 races, Verstappen and Hamilton are level on points with the Red Bull driver only ahead because of winning one more race in 2021.

The permutations mean Verstappen could afford to take his title rival out of the race to secure his maiden title.

In Thursday’s drivers’ press conference, Hamilton - who was sat alongside Verstappen - was asked about the championship being decided by an incident.

“I can’t control those things around me, all I can do is control what I do in terms of preparation and how I conduct myself,” Hamilton said.

“Honestly I don’t give it any energy. I’m here to do the best job I can with this incredible team. We never thought that we’d be neck and neck going into the last race, we’ve had an amazing recovery collectively as a team, we’ve been in a great position these last few races.

“We go full steam ahead with that same focus and we don’t waste energy on things that are out of our control.”

Verstappen was asked the same question and he insisted that his main focus remains on trying to win the race.

“I think as a driver you don’t think about these things,” he added. “You go to a weekend where you want to do the best you can as a team and you try to win the race, but naturally, the media starts to say these things. I don’t really have a lot more to comment on that.

“I think arrive here just trying to do the best I can, trying to be the best prepared but also trying to win this weekend.”

Ahead of the weekend, FIA race director Michael Masi issued a reminder that points could be deducted in "exceptional circumstances".

Hamilton believes it’s a “fair" move from the FIA but is hopeful that it doesn’t have to act on it.

“It’s happened in the past, I’m sure the stewards have taken the precautions they have this time around and so I think that’s fair that they do it,” Hamilton explained. “Hopefully they won’t need to be used and we have a great race and move forwards.

“I don’t particularly have an opinion about it otherwise. I’m here to do my job and I don’t want to see the stewards any more than they want to see me.”

Verstappen thinks the reminder from Masi wasn’t necessary.

“I know what’s in the sporting code so nobody needs to be reminded of that,” he said.

“I think they can put it in every single race weekend. There’s nothing newly added for this weekend.”

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