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Lewis Hamilton claims rival Max Verstappen will be struggling with ‘difficult, intense pressure’ as their F1 title race heats up



Lewis Hamilton has claimed that Max Verstappen is struggling to deal with the title pressure. The Briton is an old hand at the long game, having won and lost championships at the final race of four seasons, but this is the first occasion Verstappen has experienced a protracted fight for the world crown. The two collided during the Italian Grand Prix a fortnight ago for the second time this season, with Verstappen blamed by the stewards.





He takes a three-place grid penalty into this weekend’s race in Russia. Hamilton, who trails Verstappen by five points with eight races remaining, was asked how the Dutchman is coping. ‘I’m just saying that I remember what it was like when I had my first title fight and the pressure definitely mounted up,’ he said. ‘It was difficult, it was intense. I was going through a lot of different emotions and I didn’t always handle it the best.





‘And that’s to be expected. There’s a lot of pressure from you working in a big team. There’s a lot of self-expectation because the desire to win is huge. I empathise with that.’ Verstappen hit back, saying with lashings of sarcasm: ‘I’m so nervous I can barely sleep. It’s so horrible to fight for a title. I really hate it. Those comments show that he really doesn’t know me.’

Hamilton was saved by his ‘halo’ device from an impact on the head after his coming together with Verstappen in Monza and sought medical advice. Any lingering effects? ‘Fortunately not,’ added the seven-time champion. ‘I was very lucky I had Angela (Cullen, his trainer) with me all week. She was meant to go home but I had positive treatments, lots of yoga, and then managed to get back in the gym. I’m feeling good.’


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