Lewis Hamilton says it would be “childish” to get involved in mind games with Red Bull and Max Verstappen after losing the championship lead.
The defending champion headed into the Monaco Grand Prix weekend with a solid advantage over Verstappen but saw that completely erased as he finished seventh and the Red Bull driver won for the second time this year. Hamilton had previously suggested Mercedes has been doing a better job than Red Bull in maximizing its chances, but Verstappen says his latest win shows how’s it’s better to do his talking on the track.
“I’m not playing mind games,” Hamilton said. “It’s interesting what Christian (Horner) comes out with but… I couldn’t care less! They did a great job (in Monaco), and that’s that. We’ve had some good races also. But there’s 17 races to go. It’s childish in the end when you start getting into a war of words.”
Hamilton says there’s nothing particularly challenging or special about this championship battle compared to others he’s had in the past, admitting a tough result as Monaco is a little less difficult to handle given the time left in the season.
“I’ve been racing since I was eight. Each one is different in its own way but I don’t think it’s worse or better. It’s going to be tough. I told you at the beginning they’ve got a championship-winning car, and they’re going to be very hard to beat. I’ve been serious about it all year.
“We’ve won races which we shouldn’t have won, like in Bahrain, but it’s not over. There’s a long long way to go. We can’t afford another weekend like this, but I’m grateful I finished and got some points, fastest lap — every point you get on a bad weekend like this can hopefully count towards something at the end.
“Of course it’s not a great weekend but I’m not dwelling on it. There’s a lot we could have done better, in terms of how we could have prepared coming into the weekend. We had some good conversations through the weekend, but it’s not good enough from all of us — we win and lose as a team, and collectively it’s not a good job from all of us, across the board, and we don’t take it lightly.
“No point getting all depressed, we have to look at data and figure out why we’re in this position … We all want answers within the team, so I know everyone will be working flat out to make sure hopefully this sort of weekend doesn’t happen again. We’ve shown time and time again in the past that we can bounce back from these weekends, hence why I’m not the most stressed.”