Lewis Hamilton has explained why he cautiously races Max Verstappen, saying that an elbows-out approach can affect both drivers.

Hamilton and Verstappen have gone wheel-to-wheel on a few occasions. Most of those events have resulted in crashes or controversies. They collided on two of those occasions as well.

The Dutchman is an aggressive driver, and with the championship at stake, the seven-time world champion has to be as well. Neither driver wants to yield to the other, and that results in a situation where they can’t race without tension.

As such, Hamilton explained why he cautiously races Verstappen, explaining that he is prepared for every outcome when he is next to his rival.   

As quoted by Racingnews365.com, the defending champion said, “You just have to be very, very wary. More wary than ever before.

“Rather than giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you have to know that’s what’s going to happen. So you always have to be ready to avoid a collision at all costs, (even) if it means going wide, because you want to see the end of the race, right?

Hamilton (right) in action against Verstappen (left). Source: Getty Images

“If you’re stubborn and you hold your ground, you’re going to crash. So that’s what I’ve just tried to do. I’ve tried to make sure I avoid the collision. And I think I’ve been pretty decent at it in most scenarios. You can’t always get it perfect.”

Race hard, but also smart

Hamilton admitted that he has lost out on a few points due to this approach, but insisted that getting some points was better than not finishing at all.  

“I don’t mind being the one that….I am not too big or too successful to have to back out to fight another day,” he continued.

“I have 2,000 people behind me and through that selfish decision I could make – ‘No, I’m going to hold my ground’ and don’t finish – that costs all my team potential bonuses at the end of the year, all the hard work they have to do, the damage of the car. I am conscious of those things also.”

Read more: Alonso sends title warning to Hamilton and Verstappen – “I feel ready to take the battle”

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