Hamilton: Max fight what a ‘title battle should look like’

Date published: November 16 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, on-track. Brazil, November 2021.

For Lewis Hamilton, his scrap with Max Verstappen for the lead of the Sao Paulo GP is exactly how a title battle should look.

Showing mighty speed to progress rapidly from P10 on the grid, and aided by an appearance from the Safety Car, Hamilton would find himself closing in on his rival Verstappen for the lead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

An initial attempt to pass Verstappen at Turn 4 did not do the business, but Hamilton would return for another shot, successfully taking the Dutchman’s lead and going on to convert that into an against-all-odds victory.

Hamilton learned from the mistake of his unsuccessful pass attempt to ultimately triumph over his rival, a scene which Hamilton feels is fitting to what a battle over the World Championship should look like.

Speaking to reporters after the race about that battle with Verstappen, Hamilton said: “It was tough. In front of me he generally could match my pace. I would say particularly or more so in the last sector.

“It was very, very difficult to follow in the last sector and to get as good an exit as he did in Turn 12. So I kept coming up the straight and it wasn’t that easy to be in his DRS. And even if I was in the DRS zone it was a bit too far away.

“But I just kept trying, just kept pushing. Obviously I had that one chance into Turn 4 but I couldn’t hold it. We… Yeah, it didn’t work out. Then I saw I had that experience and just made sure that I didn’t make that mistake again, but I was adamant and determined to get back into that position.

“Yeah, it was fine. This is what a World Championship battle should look like.”

 

Verstappen’s defence was called into question on Hamilton’s first overtaking move as both drivers ended up well into the run-off area.

Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was fuming afterwards, saying the steward’s decision not to investigate was “laughable”.

But Hamilton is not convinced that his rival should have picked up a penalty, saying that he would not expect anything less than that hard battling.

“In the heat of the moment, it doesn’t… I don’t really know. I think I was ahead initially, and I think he held his ground and we both ran out of road,” said Hamilton’s as he addressed Verstappen’s defensive driving.

“Well, I think he was running out of road, so I obviously had to avoid to go out of road – but I mean, I didn’t think too much of it and obviously I’ll have to watch the replay, but it’s hard battling and wouldn’t expect anything less really. We didn’t touch wheels, which is good.”

With victory at Interlagos Hamilton reduced the deficit to Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship to 14 points with three rounds remaining.