Hamilton not concerned about Verstappen collision in Abu Dhabi decider

By Sports Desk December 09, 2021

Lewis Hamilton is not concerned about colliding with Max Verstappen in the decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he prepares to go "full steam ahead" in his quest to make history.

Hamilton and Verstappen will start the last race of the Formula One season at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday level on points in a captivating battle for the title.

Tensions between the defending champion and Red Bull's Verstappen heightened further in a chaotic Saudi Arabia Grand Prix last weekend, which Hamilton won to set up a thrilling finale.

Verstappen was penalised five seconds for leaving the track to gain an advantage and another 10 for causing a collision with Hamilton.

Hamilton accused the Dutchman of going "over the limit" after their latest clashes in Jeddah, while Verstappen said when they faced the media on Thursday that the Mercedes man had gone down in his estimations this season.

Verstappen will be crowned champion for the first time if Hamilton fails to pick up as many points as him due to winning more races this season and the 24-year-old said he will do "whatever is necessary" to win the title.

But Briton Hamilton is not giving any thought to the prospect of missing out on a record eighth title due to another collision.

Asked about the possibility of that happening, Hamilton said: "No, I honestly don't give it any energy.

"I'm here to do the best job I can with this incredible team and going back again, we never thought we'd be neck and neck going into the last race; we've had an amazing recovery collectively as a team and we've been in a great position these last few races.

"So, we go full steam ahead with that focus, and we don't waste energy on things that are out of our control.

"I think at the end of the day, I do believe that everyone here racing comes to win, I would like to believe everyone wants to do it the right way. So, I don't even let that creep into my mind."

Hamilton is sticking with the mindset that he is "the hunter" rather than a history-chasing defending champion.

"At the moment it just feels like another championship to me, I don't look at it as another multiple," he said. "I just look at it every season and every year from ground zero, you're the hunter and you're fighting from the moment you start training.

"The moment you get into the new year you're focused on training and winning. I don't turn up with ‘Number One’ on my car, I turn up with Number 44, I don't consider myself the one that's fighting for a championship."

Verstappen topped the podium in Abu Dhabi last year to halt Mercedes' run of six consecutive victories at this race, but Hamilton is hopeful the Silver Arrows can maintain the standards that have seen him win three races in a row to reel Verstappen in.

He said: "They won here last year. So without doubt they're going to be strong this weekend. But we've chased and caught up a lot and I think we can come here and be strong this weekend."

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    2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 85
    3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 66
    4. George Russell (Mercedes) 59 
    5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 53

    Constructors

    1. Ferrari 157
    2. Red Bull 151
    3. Mercedes 95
    4. McLaren 46
    5. Alfa Romeo 31

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