Former world champion Damon Hill has said Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to escalating rivalries off-track.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen got one over on rival Hamilton when he won the Monaco GP. Doing so, he leapfrogged Lewis to the top of the WDC standings.

Hill suggested that mind games are common in rivalries, and that Hamilton could play some. He added that Hamilton could unnerve Verstappen anytime he wants to.

So far, the two drivers have not collided on track. But off it, they have resorted to trading verbal barbs. This is despite Lewis saying he will not engage in a “childish war of words” with Verstappen.

Hamilton sees "opportunity" in potential Verstappen team-up
Lewis Hamilton (right) and Max Verstappen (left) are engaged in a great rivalry this season. Source: motorsport.com

“It’s a little bit dull sometimes, because you think ‘oh, come on, just a bit of banter’, but of course those things escalate and they get out of control,” Hill said.

“I think they (the drivers) are probably more mature than we give them credit for sometimes. But Lewis, he says he doesn’t, but he does play the odd comment every now and then.”

Hill highlighted the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry to run his point of Hamilton being a verbal rival home.

“Remember with Nico (Rosberg) and he was talking about how he was from a poor background, not like a rich kid who lived in Monaco. Who was that directed at, exactly?”

Talk on the track

As mentioned earlier, Hamilton is no stranger to verbal rivalries in addition to racing ones. Despite his reservations, he has cheekily unnerved his rival, saying unlike him, he doesn’t have anything prove. Verstappen returned the jibe after his win at Monaco, saying “actions speak louder than words.”

Hamilton and Verstappen have won all races that have taken place so far. The WDC is well and truly heating up with these two at the forefront of it. Verbal rivalry or not, both are under pressure to deliver and win the title.

Hamilton will look to win his eighth world title, while Verstappen is on a quest for his maiden one. It will be down to the wire for sure.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen banter is good for the entertainment factor: Toto Wolff

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