Lewis Hamilton’s 2021 rivalry with Max Verstappen was somewhat put on hold last season, with the British driver having been in no place to fight for the Drivers’ Championship this year.
With Hamilton having endured so much dominance since the birth of the hybrid era in 2014, it’s been somewhat shocking to see the seven-time World Champion battling for the top five, rather than victories.
By the end of the year, the 37-year-old ended the season sixth in the standings, an all-time low for the argued greatest F1 driver of all-time.
He did find some form, though, in the second half of the year and came incredibly close to victory at his beloved Brazilian Grand Prix.
Whilst Hamilton failed to win at Interlagos, George Russell was on hand to pick up his first F1 win and the team’s first of 2022.
Somewhat ironically, Hamilton was denied a real chance of victory after colliding with none other than Verstappen, who was eager to split the Germans one-two.
Following a Safety Car restart, the pair made contact at Turn Two, after Verstappen went too fast into the corner.
In the Dutchman’s defence, he was entitled to more room from Hamilton, who severely closed the door on the 25-year-old.
It was truly remarkable that the pair came together once again at the venue where Hamilton could’ve won, adding to the evidence that the duo seem unable to race each other cleanly.
Hamilton predicts the pair will come together again in the future, but that he’s trying to “adapt” himself to avoid the scenarios with the double World Champion.
‘Most likely,” Hamilton told Sky Sports in Abu Dhabi, when asked if himself and Verstappen will likely collide again in the future.
“I think I’ll adapt. You’ve seen in previous years that I try to avoid [contact] in scenarios.
“I’m sure we’ll grow, both sides will grow and improve hopefully so we don’t have experiences like we did in the last race [Sao Paulo], but I wouldn’t hold your breath.”
With the duo having collided at Brazil and several times in 2021, Hamilton was asked if he’s a target due to his status as statistically the greatest driver of all-time.
The Brit does think this is the case, but that he was the same when he was Verstappen’s age.
“I think yeah, you’re probably right,” Hamilton said in agreement with being asked if drivers push harder against the very best in the sport.
“I remember when I first got to the sport and your target is the guy that has the most championships.
“It was Fernando [Alonso], then it was Kimi [Raikkonen], because Kimi was one of the best drivers here, and then it was Seb [Vettel] – so I think it’s natural.”