18 March 2022

Lewis Hamilton vows to be ‘more aggressive’ in bid to regain Formula One title

18 March 2022

Lewis Hamilton has delivered a stark warning to Max Verstappen by telling his rival he will be more aggressive this season.

The Formula One campaign fires up in Bahrain on Sunday, 98 days after the deeply-contentious conclusion to last year’s title fight between Hamilton and Verstappen.

On occasions, Red Bull’s Verstappen overstepped the mark last year with a number of moves during a battle which became increasingly toxic as the campaign wore on.

And speaking on the eve of his 16th campaign on the grid, Hamilton, 37, said he is ready to fight fire with fire.

Asked if he had considered changing his approach in the wake of Verstappen’s combative tactics, Hamilton grinned, stayed silent for 10 seconds, and then declared: “I will be a more aggressive driver this year, you’ll see.”

It was a clear statement of intent from the record-breaking Briton, despite insisting he no longer carries the heartache from the events of Abu Dhabi on December 12.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said his superstar driver was disillusioned after Verstappen took advantage of Michael Masi’s questionable implementation of the rules following a late safety car to win the title.

But when it was put to Hamilton that the controversy might have fuelled his desire to seek revenge, the Mercedes driver replied: “That is not in my psyche and that is not how I am approaching this season.

“I want to be the best I can be and to somehow raise my game and at least drive how I was driving at the end of the season.

“I’m not sitting here with any grudge and I don’t have any baggage. It is important to let go and all I do is try to shape what is ahead of me. I know I can’t change the past.

Masi was removed as race director with the FIA now under pressure to release the full report of its analysis into the final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“It is important that, as a sport, we are transparent,” added Hamilton.

Max Verstappen will start the year as the defending world champion (PA Wire) (PA Wire)

“I had a good meeting with [FIA president] Mohammed Ben Sulayem last night, and we agreed about the direction we should take as a sport.

“I am looking forward to seeing the report coming out and that we have learned from what has happened in the past.”

So aggrieved about Abu Dhabi, both Hamilton and Wolff boycotted the FIA’s prize-giving gala in Paris.

And Hamilton revealed he will be fined by the sport’s governing body for his failure to attend.

He added: “There will be some sort of fine, but we have worked together to make sure that the money will be put towards children from underprivileged backgrounds getting into motorsports engineering.”

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