Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen vow to ‘keep it clean’ on track despite recent tangles

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

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Lewis Hamilton believes there is a mutual respect on track between himself and main title rival Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman adding that it’s nice to be able to trust one another on track.

The duo have treated fans to some spectacular battles over the first three races of the season, with some breath-taking overtakes as they have tussled on track.

The rivalry was born in Bahrain, where we saw fireworks in the desert as the two went wheel-to-wheel during a grandstand finish that eventually saw Hamilton crowned winner thanks to a track limits decision going against the Red Bull driver.

In Italy we saw Verstappen storm past the Mercedes driver from third to first on the opening lap, with the slightest touch that saw Hamilton’s front wing pick up damage.

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Then the pair were embroiled in another gripping battle in Portugal, evoking memories of a bygone era of F1, with the duo jostling for position for much of the race.

The race was eventually won by Hamilton, who extended his lead at the top of the standings as he eyes a record-breaking eighth world title this season.

And the Briton, who now has two wins to his name this season compared with Verstappen’s one, believes such close racing wouldn’t be possible without mutual appreciation.

“It is naturally down to respect,” he said.

“I think [we’re] both very, very hard but fair and that’s what makes great racing and great racing drivers.

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“I think we will continue to keep it clean and keep it on the edge but I don’t think either of us has a plan to get any closer than we have been.”

Verstappen, who trails Hamilton by eight points at the top of the standings after yesterday’s race, added the races have been “really cool” so far.

“Especially when you race a driver, when you know that you can go to the absolute limit, I guess you can trust each other to just race super-hard,” he said.

“That’s always really nice because you can see in the three races we’ve had it’s been really close to each other but predictable.

“Lewis has never had something like ‘oh, we’re going to crash’ or something. I always have full trust in Lewis that we all give each other enough space.”

The battle for championship points continues in Barcelona for round four of the Formula 1 world championship, with Verstappen looking to level the playing field on wins.

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