Lewis Hamilton fires Max Verstappen warning ahead of Belgian Grand Prix

F1 preview: A lap of the Belgian Grand Prix

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Lewis Hamilton has claimed he “knows and understands” Max Verstappen better now after a tough battle in the first half of the season. The seven-time world champion will hope this given him the edge in an F1 title race which seems set to go down to the wire.

Only eight points separate the pair with Hamilton just ahead of his rival after the first 11 races of the season, with Red Bull mounting its strongest competition against Mercedes in years.

Verstappen might even have been ahead in the championship at this stage had it not been for that crash at Silverstone, when the Dutchman careered off the track and into the tyre wall at Copse after contact with Hamilton.

The Briton was slapped with a 10-second time penalty, but still won his home race while Verstappen’s day ended with zero points and a trip to hospital as a precaution.

While Hamilton has a slender advantage in the standings heading back into racing action, more important he feels is what he has learned about his competition in the first half of the campaign.

In Formula 1’s weekend warm-up, he said: “Everything is really vague. I don’t really remember everything from the first half of the season.

JUST IN: Max Verstappen weighs in on Lewis Hamilton’s 2022 team-mate decision

“It was difficult, very very difficult for all of us. I remember in between each session having to get the setup right – the pressure has been immense for us in terms of getting operations right and making sure we’re taking a step forward and not sideways or backwards.

“In terms of understanding the drivers you’re racing with, that’s an interesting process. I can’t really say too much more about it, but I think I understand and know the guys that I’m racing with really well.

“The most important thing is I’m always racing against myself, trying to improve how I perform. That’s really my focus.”

While Hamilton certainly has a lot more experience of leading the pack in the drivers’ standings compared to Verstappen, the Red Bull man does not believe that will play a major role in their battle for supremacy in 2021.

The rivalry between the pair is expected to really heat up in the second half of the season, with former stars of the sport Bertrand Gachot and Nico Rosberg firing warnings over what can happen if it gets out of hand in recent days.

Lewis Hamilton confirms Wolff conversation over Bottas and Russell [NEWS]
Everything Bottas and Russell said during awkward joint interview [QUOTES]
Lewis Hamilton provides health update as racing resumes in Belgium [LATEST]

Rosberg, a former teammate of Hamilton’s and the only man other than the Briton to win the world championship since Sebastian Vettel’s last success in 2013, said he is excited to see more wheel-to-wheel action from the pair.

But he added it only remains an exciting prospect “as long as no-one gets hurt”.

He said: “There is a basis of respect, but we’re not at the destructive phase yet. I think it’s just building up. Now let’s see where it goes.

“They could have also already collided in Silverstone three corners before when they were going down the straight. You could have had a Webber/Vettel situation – remember when they collided in Turkey? It was very close.

“Max is hyper-aggressive, and Lewis has stopped backing out. So it’s going to be interesting for them to manage that.”

Source: Read Full Article