Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen ‘would rather have a collision’

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided four times in 2021 during their titanic title rivalry.

Following on from their intense 2021 rivalry, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton endured drastically different campaigns in 2022.

Whilst Verstappen stormed to a second consecutive Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton suffered a monumental blow to his imperious F1 career.

The seven-time World Champion failed to claim a single pole position or victory all season, for the first time in his 16-year career at the pinnacle of motorsport.

As well as that, the 37-year-old ended the year sixth in the standings, his lowest ever result.

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Verstappen’s cruise to the title was certainly different to his maiden crown in 2021, where himself and the British driver fought relentlessly all season.

Their battle was so intense that they often tangled with each other, as a result of not willing to lose the “psychological battle”.

The Red Bull and Mercedes star’s collided four times in 2021 and then once in 2022 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where they were both to blame.

Verstappen carried too much corner speed at Turn Two whilst diving up the inside of Hamilton, whereas the 103-time GP winner failed to give the Dutchman enough room.

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BBC commentator Jack Nicholls questioned if the duo would rather hit one another than “give up” against each other, something that does seem extremely plausible.

“Sometimes it feels like, this is a bit hyperbolic to say, but sometimes it feels like Verstappen – and also maybe now Hamilton – would rather have a collision than give up to the other one,” Nicholls said on the BBC’s Chequered Flag Podcast.

“It feels like we’re sort of at that level, maybe that’s a bit dramatic for me to say they know.”

Jack Aitken, who raced for Williams at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, agreed with Nicholls’ comments, and added that for them giving up a place to one another is treated as a loss in their mental fight.

“They can’t give an inch to each other,” Aitken said.

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“As soon as one gives an inch it’s such a win in the psychological battle, isn’t it? When you’re up against that guy, you know every time you see them on track you cannot give this guy anything.

“You just have to win every time, every corner, every time you go side by side because it’s such a blow when you don’t, you know it has a bigger picture. And I wonder if that’s not the reason why Verstappen is a little bit more… I think he is a little bit more gentle with [Charles] Leclerc.

“Gentle is probably over-egging it a little bit, he’s still going for are harder to it but they don’t collide. Respectful because I don’t think he sees Leclerc as a threat in the same way that he sees Hamilton.”