Lewis Hamilton commented on his mindset before heading into the Qatar Grand Prix this weekend. After the battle with rival Max Verstappen at the Brazil Grand Prix, the Briton said he was unsure what rules would be followed in Qatar and beyond.
With the championship on a knife edge, the last two venues are bound to be full of action and excitement, regardless of which driver or team you support. The two drivers are separated by only eight points after Hamilton pulled off a stellar drive to win the Qatar Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen.
The Brazil Grand Prix provided a fair bit of controversy between Mercedes and Red Bull, the two teams fighting for the constructors' and drivers' championships. Lewis Hamilton had an up-and-down weekend marked by penalties, disqualifications and even a race win.
A large bulk of the drama unfolded on Lap 48, when Verstappen allegedly pushed the defending champion off-track whilst defending. Mercedes launched a "Right to Review" following the race, which was subsequently rejected by the FIA.
At the driver's briefing conducted before every race weekend, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas felt there was little to no clarity regarding the state of fair racing. When asked about it at the post-qualifying press conference, Hamilton told The Times:
"I think every driver except for Max was asking just for clarity. So no, it's not clear what the limits are the track are. It is clear it is not the white line anymore when overtaking. So we just go for it...we just ask for consistency, so if it is the same for the last race, it should be the same for all of us tomorrow."
The seven-time world champion did not shy away from talking about his mindset heading into the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday. With regards to the incident that occurred in Brazil, he said:
"I think then what happened in the last race is okay"
Lewis Hamilton's deficit to Max Verstappen down to eight points
Lewis Hamilton comfortably won the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday, setting the fastest lap of the qualifying session by almost half a second. To make matters worse for Verstappen, he was subsequently awarded a five-place grid penalty and started in seventh place despite qualifying P2.
However, the 24-year old limited the damage caused this weekend by overtaking five cars and coming in second behind Hamilton.
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Up next, the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix promises to hold more unpredictability, perhaps the biggest being whether the race is held at all, given that construction is still underway. Should the venue be ready in time for the race, the two title contenders will have another new track to learn from scratch.