Lewis Hamilton empathises with Max Verstappen over F1 title ‘pressure’

Hamilton has won seven world championships

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton empathises with the ‘pressure’ Max Verstappen feels to win his first Formula 1 world title.

The Dutchman is in his seventh year in the sport and is yet to claim a championship but he is within touching distance this season as he is five points ahead of rival Hamilton.

Speaking ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton told Sky Sports: “I know the pressure that comes with it and the experiences that go with it. Your eagerness… you go through lots of different experiences and emotions during that time.

“He won’t admit to it and I’m not going to make an assumption, I’m just saying that I remember what it was like when I had my first one and it definitely mounted up.

“It was difficult, it was intense, I was going through a lot of different emotions, I didn’t always handle it the best. That’s to be expected, you know, it’s a lot of pressure when you are working in a big team, there’s a lot of self expectation and the desire to win is huge. I empathise and understand that. I know we will continue to grow from this.”

The pair have had an intense rivalry this season as they have crashed twice during races, at Silverstone and Monza. Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has said they are trying to ‘influence’ Verstappen to try and stop future collisions.

He told RTL: “From our side, we try to influence Max so that there is mutual respect and collisions are to be avoided. These are racing drivers – when the visor is down, everything is forgotten again.”

The pair will go head-to-head once again at the Russian Grand Prix, on 26 September, where Verstappen has a three-place grid penalty due to his involvement in their crash at Monza.

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