Lewis Hamilton and Formula One title rival Max Verstappen have insisted they feel no pressure as their tight fight for the Drivers’ World Championship turns into a tense break-in.
Speaking as they prepared for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, both drivers ignored suggestions they were feeling the intensity of a competition that has fluctuated over 15 rounds and remains too close for be announced.
Hamilton is 36 and in his 15th F1 season, and the Mercedes driver said his experience has helped him stay focused. “It’s understanding what will be, all you can do is prepare yourself in the best possible way,” he said.
“What’s coming is coming. I don’t worry about these things. I’ve been very lucky in the past, had a lot of ups and downs but had an amazing time, a lot of growth. I don’t worry about “what if?” It’s coming, I’m just trying to prepare for now.
“At the end of the day, you have to take advantage of it. What an amazing season it’s been so far, it’s been super exciting for the fans. We finally see two teams neck and neck, which is incredible.
Hamilton leads Verstappen by two points after Verstappen made a superb comeback for Red Bull in the final round in Russia, finishing second after starting at the back of the grid due to a penalty for installing a new engine.
Verstappen is 24 and in his first title fight, but insisted he was also not disturbed by the closest competition between the teams F1 has seen since 2014. “Although we finish second, we still had a great season and that is not going to change my life, “he said. “I love what we’re doing so for me there isn’t much to worry about.”
With seven races remaining, Mercedes plans to install a new powertrain for Hamilton in Turkey, which would be his fourth, so with Verstappen in Sochi he would start from the back of the grid.
The manager, Toto Wolff, has confirmed that Mercedes is studying their options. If they are to take the penalty, it will be imperative to choose where they can minimize potential points lost. “It’s a possibility,” he said. “When and how is not yet decided. The most important is that you are not DNF because of a reliability issue.