Ahead of the 2021 Mexican GP, reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has expressed his desire to win the title fair and square. The Briton explained the need for the title to be won on fair terms and not with an on-track clash with rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton’s comments were in response to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s statements to the Daily Mail. The Austrian predicted a potential scenario for another clash between the two title contenders before the season ends.
Amidst the heat of the closely-fought 2021 F1 season, Hamilton and Verstappen have clashed on four occasions this year, with the most recent one in Monza ending the race for both. The incidents, many felt, were inevitable, given the hunger of both men to claim this year’s title.
Hamilton wants to win the title on fair terms while Mercedes boss fears another on-track clash with Verstappen
In an exclusive interview ahead of the Mexican GP, Wolff told the Daily Mail:
“If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years.”
In response to the Mercedes boss’s comments, Hamilton told Formula1. com:
“I haven’t read what Toto said but I highly doubt he would insinuate that would ever be the case. We’ve never won a championship in that way. I have never won a championship in that way and would never want to.”
Stressing the need for the title battle to be fair, Hamilton said:
“That’s from my perspective, my point of view: I’m here to win in the right way and that’s through sheer skill and determination and hard work. You know how I’ve won my championships in the past and I always want to win it the right way.”
The 36-year-old has clashed with Verstappen four times so far, including feisty on-track battles in Imola and Bahrain and two race-compromising incidents in Silverstone and Monza.
Hamilton also spoke about losing the title the right way, saying:
“If you’re going to lose it, you lose it the right way also: with dignity and knowing that you’re giving it you’re all and you’ve done things the right way and you’ve worked as hard as you could”
Commenting on his wins and failures this season, Hamilton said:
“It’s all you can do. Give it your all and work as hard as you can with the team. If it doesn’t work out, you live to fight another day.”
Expressing his views on his chief title rival Verstappen, Hamilton said:
“I have been here a long time. And I know Max has not won a championship in a long, long, long time. So, I know what it’s like going for your first championship, particularly in this sport. I know the pressures that come with that, and so, it’s nothing less than I expected from him.”
The Briton also stressed the need for him to be an inspiration for younger drivers coming up the ranks. Highlighting the importance of leading by example on track, Hamilton said:
“He (Verstappen) is still a youngster and he’s going to be growing a huge amount over the next decade, which I think everyone will be excited to see. So, yes, just trying if I can to lead by example, because as I said, I know a lot of youngsters particularly that are racing, that are looking at what I do and what I say, and that’s important to me.”
Hamilton and Verstappen have both won two races each in Mexico. However, the track and its conditions have traditionally favored Red Bull Racing. With a 12-point deficit between the two and only five races remaining on the calendar, it will be interesting to see which of the two contenders prevails at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico this weekend.