Hamilton sympathetic towards Verstappen’s ‘target’ mindset


Lewis Hamilton believes his status in Formula 1 is the reason why Max Verstappen treats him as a ‘target’, but he also admits that he can fully empathise with his rival.

2022 proved a disappointing year for Hamilton as he went winless for the first time in his F1 career, as Verstappen re-wrote the record books with 15 wins and 454 points in the Drivers’ standings while the Briton finished a career-worst sixth.

It followed the white-hot title fight of 2021, only decided in controversial circumstances on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Owing to the drop-off in performance of Mercedes, Hamilton and Verstappen rarely fought on track in 2022, although they did collide in Brazil at the Senna S.

After that collision that left Verstappen with a time penalty from the stewards, Hamilton said he had a target on his back owing to the success he has enjoyed since 2014.

It is a label the seven-time World Champion is comfortable in wearing, and he believes it is only natural that Verstappen should see him in that way.

Hamilton on Verstappen mindset

“All you have to do is listen to the words that certain individuals, competitors say about me,” Hamilton explained to British broadcaster Channel 4.

“Then also just look back at the way those individuals behave on track around me [and it] kind of shows that it is a little bit different to others.

“I can’t explain fully exactly why [that is], but it is in part for sure to do with the time I’ve had in [in F1] and the success I’ve had.

“I know because I remember when I got into F1 [in 2007], that the target was someone else who had had the success and my goal was to challenge them.

“You almost wanted to show how tough you were, you always wanted to show how good you were compared to that person.”

When Hamilton joined F1 in 2007, he was partnered with Fernando Alonso at McLaren – the reigning double World Champion who had assumed the ‘man to beat’ status following Michael Schumacher’s first retirement at the end of 2006.

Hamilton and Alonso proved to be a combustible pairing, with the relationship worsening throughout the campaign as the Spanish driver left Woking at the end of the season to return to Renault.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here