Lewis Hamilton terrified of repeating Max Verstappen mistake in Charles Leclerc battle

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Lewis Hamilton told Charles Leclerc he was worried about taking him out during their close fight at the British Grand Prix – just like he did to Max Verstappen last year.

Their collision at Silverstone was the moment that really ignited the 2021 title race. Hamilton clipped Verstappen’s wheel and sent him smashing into the barriers at high speed, while the Brit went on to win the race despite a small penalty for causing that crash.

The Red Bull star was uninjured but seething, and the incident sparked a series of events which led to all-out war as they both chased the title. Hamilton does not appear to be in the hunt for silverware this season, but history still almost repeated itself all the same.

He was one of several drivers pushing for the podium in the late stages of the race, with the field bunched up after a safety car period. Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez quickly made it clear they would take first and second, but it was left to Hamilton and Leclerc to fight for third while Fernando Alonso was keeping close tabs from behind.

There was a moment when things got very tight at Copse – the very same corner where Verstappen had crashed a year earlier. But this time there was no disaster, as both drivers left each other enough room and, eventually, the Mercedes man was the one who completed the top three.

New footage from last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix shows Hamilton and Leclerc discussing that battle while performing their media duties. In their latest SF Full Access video, Ferrari show a clip of the two racers deep in conversation.

Lewis Hamilton

While the full chat is not shown and the audio is faint, Hamilton can clearly be heard telling the Monegasque: “I was like ‘f**k man, I don’t want to just clip you and send you off’.” The new footage comes after Hamilton used the intense but fair duel as an opportunity to take a swipe at Verstappen.

Reacting to his battle with Leclerc, the Mercedes star did not mention his Red Bull rival by name – but could not resist a thinly-veiled dig. “Charles did a great job,” said the Brit. “What a great battle. “[He’s] a very sensible driver, clearly a lot different to what I experienced last year.”

Max Verstappen responded to that with an insult of his own, when asked by Dutch media what he thought of that comment from the seven-time world champion. “I think it’s quite nice that, at 37 years of age, you can still learn how to hit an apex,” he quipped, before adding: “I think Charles gave him less space than I did last year, so that says it all.”

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