With warning flags and a ‘let them race’ attitude in play, Lewis Hamilton says he’s “down for hard racing” while Max Verstappen feels a few touches “here and there” should be okay.
Last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton wasn’t entirely happy with Charles Leclerc’s defending on his way to the win.
The Ferrari rookie not only pushed the World Champion wide as he tried to make a pass but he also moved under braking and cut a chicane to maintain his lead.
However, two weeks later, and preparing for a sweltering hot Singapore GP in which tempers are known to fray, Hamilton says he’s okay with it if the stewards feel hard racing is permitted.
“I look forward,” he told The Guardian. “There’s nothing I can do about the past.
“I’m down for hard racing.”
As for Verstappen, the driver many believe will most likely challenge Hamilton for the win this weekend, he reckons hard racing is the way to go.
His only concern is how the stewards, not always known for consistency, deal with it.
“If they keep it consistent then I’m very happy about it, because it gives you a bit more hard racing, which I think we have been lacking before in Formula 1,” said the Red Bull driver.
“I don’t mind to have a few touches here and there throughout a grand prix. Even if it’s not touches, you should be able to defend yourself.
“For me it’s fine and every driver knows this so we will all race the same.”
Meanwhile Leclerc is looking forward to the prospect of another battle with either Hamilton or Verstappen.
Crediting the latter’s barge at the Austrian GP, which cost Leclerc the win, for teaching him now to race within on the limits, the Monégasque wants more of the same.
“Overall I wanted to race hard, which I did, and I’ve changed my approach after Austria,” he told the official F1 website.
“I think from then on it’s been pretty straightforward from the ztewards that we could race a bit harder and I enjoyed driving like this.”
Leclerc also warned Hamilton he’s not going to change how he races, at least not unless the Brit is also open to taking it easy on one another.
“I’m happy to continue and if he wants to change, I’m happy he changes too,” said Leclerc.