Hamilton relying on ‘experience’ to prevail against Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton says experience and flawless execution will be key to Mercedes and himself fending off the formidable assaults this season of Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

Hamilton and Verstappen drew level after the first two highly disputed rounds of the season in Bahrain and at Imola. But the seven-time world champion came out on top last weekend at Portimão.

Nevertheless, the Briton knows his opponent will be fighting him for all his worth while Red Bull will also ensure that its RB16B – arguably the fastest car currently – doesn’t skip a beat.

“You’re seeing the closest battle we’ve seen for some time,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on Thursday.

“You’ve seen Max really performing exceptionally well. And he has a championship winning car without a doubt, and a championship winning team who can really pull off the job this year if, you know, we don’t do our job.

“So I definitely think experience, our experience, will help us in terms of how we approach weekends and how we battle back from difficult weekends.

“I think, from my side, I would like to think that experience will help. But at the end of the day, you just have to do the job and minimal mistakes.

“Reliability is going to be a key player also this year. And then you’ll see and even these fastest lap extra points are going to be significant by the end of the year, too.”

    Read also: Red Bull won’t neglect Verstappen 2021 title bid – Marko

Hamilton’s main opposition in recent years has been his own teammate, Valtteri Bottas. While he will gladly fight any of his peers, the seven-time world champion says he prefers to battle with a driver from another team rather than against a competitor from within.

“It’s no different to me, if I’m really honest, I mean, I’ve been racing a long time since I was eight,” Hamilton explained.

“So I’ve fought so many different people naturally. But you can remember when I was obviously fighting against Ferrari.

“That is my preferred scenario when we’re fighting against another team and another team who are at their best. And even ahead, potentially, in certain instances.

“Max is is more experienced now than he ever has been. And clearly incredibly hungry to win more races and to win this championship. And you know…game on!

“This is what we’re all here to do is to race and to be fighting for wins. And in the battles that we’ve had just in these first few races have been amazing. And I’m excited to, to enjoy more of them!”

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