Hamilton feels his success makes him a target for Verstappen

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Hamilton feels his success makes him a target for Verstappen

Formula 1

Hamilton feels his success makes him a target for Verstappen


Lewis Hamilton says his past success makes him a target for other drivers after colliding with Max Verstappen once again at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Hamilton had a number of incidents in their fight for the drivers’ championship last season, but this year had been largely quiet on that front as Mercedes struggled and Verstappen eased to a second title. But in a Brazil race where Mercedes was far more competitive, the pair made contact at Turn 2 early on, earning Verstappen a time penalty.

“I’m not concerned,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s natural, when you have the success and the numbers on your chest, that you become a bit of a target. But it’s OK. It’s nothing that I have not dealt with before.

“I don’t really have much of an opinion about it, to be honest. All I thought in that moment was that the car would have to retire, because I felt something… the rear wasn’t feeling the same after that. And it was like, I was going to lose the team the one-two.

“So I was driving over across the grass, back onto the track and all I could think of was ‘How can I get back to giving the team that incredible result?’ So just for me, it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up. And I’m proud of the job we’ve all done and huge congratulations to George [Russell].”

Hamilton dropped to eighth at the time but recovered to second while Russell gave Mercedes its first win of the year, and he said the victory carries a large amount of weight beyond the points on offer.

“It was an incredible day, an incredible weekend, and week actually, just overall,” Hamilton said. “So many amazing experiences, from Monday onwards. And this is really a dream for all the team. I think everyone truly deserves this amazing result.

“Everyone has worked so hard through the year. And we’ve been through such a difficult phase, but we never gave up hope that we could get back to winning ways. And so I’m really proud to be a part of this team and to get a one-two, despite the challenges through the year.

“This is a massive boost to the whole team’s morale. Going into the winter, the team knows that we’re on the right track. And we are still the best team. We will get back to having this more consistently next year, and I’m excited for that battle.”