Relationship with Verstappen is ‘normal’ but ‘ruthless’, says Hamilton

(IANS): Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton says the relationship between him and rival Red Bull’s driver Max Verstappen is ‘normal’ but ‘ruthless’. He added that the pair are going to be ‘ruthless’ on track once again into the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Verstappen goes into the new season as the defending champion after securing his maiden world championship in the 2021 season finale at Abu Dhabi, with Hamilton looking to bounce back and win a record-breaking eighth title.

Hamilton said he bears no grudge with Verstappen and feels he has plenty in common with the Dutchman.

“For me and Max, we’re seeing each other in the paddock, things are normal,” Hamilton quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “We are two individual drivers who have a lot in common in the sense of how much we love doing what we do, driving.”

“On the other hand, we’re ruthless. He is ruthless, that’s how you have to be, I would imagine in business but hopefully with a bit of compassion. But we are fighters out there, there are no friends on the track. Some days we get it right, some days we get it wrong, but what’s important is when we get back out, we are human beings and we do keep the respect.”

Hamilton also discussed the abuse he received online after the pair made contact on track at Silverstone last year.

“There are so many nice comments,” Hamilton said, “and then trolling and all these different things. If I had sat and read all the comments after Silverstone, the racial abuse… I could’ve downward spiralled into a negative space. I don’t let that volatile medium control my life. You have to be careful because the way the media hype up the drama creates a narrative to the fans.”

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