Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, McLaren, Suzuka, 1989

Hamilton pledges to avoid title-deciding crash with Verstappen after Wolff prediction

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he will not risk a repeat of the controversial collisions which have decided past Formula 1 championship fights in his battle with Max Verstappen.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was quoted earlier this week predicting the pair could clash in the way past title contenders have. The pair have tangled twice already this year at Silverstone and Monza.

Wolff drew comparisons to past title-deciding collisions involving Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher.

“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,” Wolff told the Daily Mail.

Wolff suggested Verstappen intentionally triggered the collision between the pair at the Italian Grand Prix.

“What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out because he was about to overtake and he was quicker,” he said. “And that is totally understandable.

“If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake? We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve, we saw it with Senna and Prost twice.”

Hamilton, who trails Verstappen by 12 points heading into this weekend’s race, insisted he would not deliberately cause a collision with his rival. “I haven’t read what Toto said but I highly doubt that he would insinuate that would ever be the case,” he said.

“We’ve never won a championship that way, I’ve never won a championship in that way and would never want to. So that’s from my perspective and 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, I always want to win it the right way,” Hamilton added. “If you’re going to lose it, you lose it the right way also, with dignity and and knowing that you’ve given it your all and you’ve done things the right way and you worked as hard as you could.

“All you can do is give it your all and work as hard as you can with the team. If it doesn’t work out, then you live to fight another day.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton pledges to avoid title-deciding crash with Verstappen after Wolff prediction”

  1. Hamilton has many times pushed people of track so obviously that I don’t know how FIA hasn’t enforced it. He tangled with Vettel, Bottas, and Verstappen. If he hadn’t won championships that way is because Mercedes always had the clear advantage before.

    1. You forget he straight on hit poor Albon, twice.

      1. Yes he is the only driver to ever make a mistake and hit another car.

        1. Probably the one driver with a signature move to crash out the opponent and getting away with it.

          1. Max has has crashed out 28 times in his 7 year career so far; Lewis has crashed out 26 times in his 15 year career. Max is 2 times better at crashing than Lewis.

  2. I’m here to win in the right way and that’s through sheer skill and determination and hard work.

    Riiiiiight. Backing up Rosberg into the competitors behind him (against team orders) in ’16 was a ganky way to try and win a championship.

    1. Looks like u don’t understand F1. Why would mercedes give team orders when the WCC was already done and dusted. Why would iI listen to the team when all that was left was a decider between me n my teammate. U think Nico wouldnt have done the same. U must be joking .If i had to driver slowly so that a rival teammate could come between me n my teammate to win I would. That is not dirty. ITs up to u to come take the win or finish in a position which ultimately NIco did to win. No issues here at all. A nothingburger really from u

      1. At Abu Dhabi ’16 Paddy Lowe came on the radio and instructed Lewis to speed up, and he directly refused.

    2. Hah, as he said “I’ve never won a championship that way”

    3. To be fair, he could have run into Rosberg and taken his chances. He didn’t do that. Not driving as fast as you can is not breaking any rules.

  3. Liberty would be disappointed to hear Hamilton say that. Liberty are banking on ‘excitement’ and ‘drama’ real or manufactured to attract the new fans.

    1. It’s OK they can CGI a crash or two into Drive to Survive.

  4. “Sheer skill”

    How modest.

  5. This reeks of Williams in the build-up to jerez. And what hipocrisy, typical f1.

  6. “Lewis Hamilton said he will not risk a repeat of the controversial collisions ”

    His wingman can take care of Verstappen. He has experience…

    1. I dont think Bottas will crash in to anyone on purpose…

      Meanwhile, I’ll be surprised if main protagonists don’t crash again.

      1. If no Silverstone style accident happens i could believe it as Max evade Lewis in CoA (and from cars behind him) by driving of the track.

  7. It isn’t really Mexico Grand Prix related, right? Lewis is behind in the standings, he shouldn’t crash into anyone this Sunday if he wants to even have a chance of usefully crashing into Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.

    1. They have lost their nerves at Mercedes.

      “What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out because he was about to overtake and he was quicker,” he said. “And that is totally understandable. “If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake?

      What tools do you have? Lots, like try to get him back or wait until the next gp or maybe the other will get into troubles further down the race. Frankly I dont think ‘taking him out’ is an option at all you bad sportsman! Incredible to hear from a team boss.

      If a team boss says things like this we know how he briefs his driver. Frankly FIA should penalize him for this. It is both false and it shows there is little sportmanship thinking at Mercedes. Again, they are an utter disappointment to the sport.

  8. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    5th November 2021, 7:18

    Wolff suggested Verstappen intentionally triggered the collision between the pair at the Italian Grand Prix.

    “What happened in Monza? Verstappen took Lewis out because he was about to overtake and he was quicker,” he said. “And that is totally understandable.

    Hilarious how Wolff took that quote back initially a day after saying it was ‘in the heat of the moment’. Really shows everything that comes out of the mouth of that man is complete BS…

    1. He’s a long way to go, before he’s in the same BS league as Horner and his associates

      1. Does that make you happy?
        Typical what about ism.

  9. Lewis backing up d pack in 2016 which is not against d rules. Smashing into a driver is. Thats d point of it all. Forcing people off the track is within the rules to a degree the better drivers know where the grey area is. Its part of racing.

    1. Well, there is a difference between the way the rules are written and how they are enforced. The rules quite clearly cite “crowding another driver off the track” as a type of conduct that is prohibited, but it has been understood for years that if you are ahead on the corner exit and have a driver to your outside, you’re allowed to use the full width of the track even if that means forcing them off the road. It’s a “grey area” Hamilton is often quick to exploit, although he doesn’t always get it right (it’s how he ended up colliding with Albon in the season opener last year, for example, attempting the same move even though he wasn’t ahead).

  10. I doubt a Senna-Prost or Schumacher-Villeneuve situation arises, but you never know. Anything’s possible.

  11. Hmm…is this the same Toto Wolff who was outraged when Horner mildly suggested there could be a ‘professional foul’ in Silverstone? To be clear, I like he’s finally spoken his mind and given us some insight on the team orders for Abu Dhabi should Lewis be ahead in the standings.

  12. Mercedes doesnt seem to get that this narrative is not working on Max. Only Lewis and Toto talk about these things. Lewis has bumped off 3 RedBulls in as many seasons. There is only one guy busy in his head with this topic and that is Lewis. Max doesnt (need to) care. He just drives and frankly if Lewis would have given a bit more space in Silverstone and Monza nothing would have happened. This is only an issue in Lewis’ head as he doesnt seem to have the same skill level as Max when battling close. Must be from all the driving alone upfront. Clearly Mercedes cant handle the pressure of this season. Its theirs to lose. Bring it on.

  13. LOL!! Yes. If only everyone bowed down to Max and realised he has a right to overtake or keep his position no matter what – crashes with him wouldn’t happen.

    You seem to forget that both crashes, resulted in Hamilton, getting a net gain of points. And a significant haul at that.

    And what exactly was Verstappen doing defending so aggressively, on Lap 1, at Silverstone anyway when he had that points lead? So what if Hamilton gets ahead of him on Lap 1? We’ve seen all the past greats, giving up a position, when they have a healthy points lead – sensibly realising the discretion is the better part of valour.

    Max’s, I’ve a right to be aggressive whenever I want, because, well er, I’m Max Verstappen, could still come back to bite him. Which would be a shame because at this point he deserves his first title.

    But let’s not skew the facts. It’s Hamilton’s jaw dropping ridiculous error in Baku, that’s going to cost him this Championship – not him standing up to the former enfant terrible.

    1. Baku is only one of the many mistakes Lewis makes under pressure.
      And even with his signature move pushing cars off from the inside line, and driving the fastest car he will lose.

      Accept it and enjoy.

      1. If you look back, they’ve both made errors “under pressure”. Max’s have been less fatal than Lewis’s

  14. Define deliberate or intentionally? Both Silverstone and Monza weren’t deliberate or intentional collisions, but were the result of one driver deliberately not backing out when he should have. So I believe both Hamilton and Verstappen when they say they don’t want to take the other out for the title, but I have no doubt that it can happen when both refuse to yield again during a fight.

  15. What I find astonishing here is the sudden lack of support for Hamilton and Mercedes in these comments. RaceFans has felt like a Ham/Merc fan club for years which has been incredibly frustrating.

    What’s up? Is someone else looking like this years champion?

    Nail your colours to the mast people. Don’t just support whoever is winning. A lot of the joy in sport comes from supporting your team through good and bad times.

    1. Well, given the level of inexplicable vitriol towards Hamilton and Mercedes in the comments on any article concerning him, it should be understandable if their fans are steering clear of them. At least I am – I’d gone 9 or so days without viewing comments here (since the last race weekend) and it turns out it is far healthier for me.

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