Hamilton and Verstappen came to blows on several occasions as they engaged in an intense season-long battle for the 2021 world championship, with Verstappen eventually prevailing to win his maiden title in controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi

The seven-time world champion often backed out of duels with Verstappen in order to avoid contact, though the pair were involved in big crashes at Silverstone and Monza when both drivers refused to concede position. 

 

 

Asked whether he has considered changing his wheel-to-wheel approach in order to combat Verstappen’s more aggressive stance, Hamilton replied: “I will be a more aggressive driver this year. You’ll see.”

Hamilton and Mercedes appear to find themselves on the back foot coming into this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix following a difficult pre-season. Both drivers were unable to extract consistent performance out of the W13 while Mercedes also seemed to struggle with porpoising more than other teams. 

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“I’m hoping my guys have come up with some sort of solution going into this weekend and when I get in the car today it feels better,” Hamilton said.

“But I know there’s not a huge change in such a short space of time. So we'll still most likely have some of the problems that we had last week. 

“Mentally, it’s just about making sure you are extracting everything in every other area. All I can do is control how I’m performing in the car, just trying to be positive and knowing that we are all working together in the team. 

“It is the best team and I’m very grateful for the group of people I have behind me, so confident we can make it through somehow.” 

Verstappen sarcastically suggested Mercedes would finish “dead last” this season because they have developed an “awful car”, in what appeared to be a swipe at the reigning world champions repeatedly downplaying its prospects for 2022. 

"I think they'll be dead last,” Verstappen said. “According to their comments – I think they have an awful car, and they've had that already since 2017 in pre-season testing. 

“No, we'll find out. But they for sure will be competitive.” 

Hamilton fine confirmed - it will be invested into diversity and inclusion

The FIA have confirmed that Hamilton’s fine for failing to attend the 2021 end-of-year gala will be paid as a donation to diversity and inclusion.

Hamilton met with the FIA president Mohammed Bin Sulayem this week.

“In the spirit of commitment to building a more diverse sport in the future, the FIA president gave his full support to Hamilton’s donation of 50,000 Euros that will be used to support a student from a disadvantaged background in achieving an educational qualification in motorsport,” an FIA statement read.

The seven-time world champion had shared his findings from the Hamilton Commission.

“The FIA reminded Hamilton of his obligation of sportsmanship, particularly in view of his status in motorsport,” the statement concluded.