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Hamilton ‘would have collided’ with Leclerc if title decided

Daniel Herrero

Tuesday 10th September, 2019 - 10:08am

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Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton nearly collide pic: Fox Sports

Lewis Hamilton says he would not have yielded to Charles Leclerc at Monza and that they would have collided had the championship been decided.

Ferrari’s Leclerc held off Hamilton and went on to win the Italian Grand Prix despite also coming under late pressure from Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes.

The bad sportsmanship flag was issued to Leclerc when he eased to the right and forced Hamilton partially onto the grass as the latter attacked at Variante della Roggia on Lap 23.

The Monegasque driver also weaved in front of the Brit through Curva Grande on Lap 36 after an error into the first chicane.

When asked how he would have approached the incidents had the championship already been settled, Hamilton responded, “I wouldn’t have moved. And we would have collided.”

Hamilton described Leclerc’s actions as “dangerous” over his radio and the Ferrari driver admitted after securing victory that he was “obviously very on the limit” regarding his aggressive driving.

However, speaking post-race, the five-time world champion had no problem with how Leclerc had engaged in battle.

“There is zero issue with us and I think he did an exceptional job today and I don’t have any problems with it. It is what it is,” said Hamilton.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone or him but if we have a moment together we might chat for a second, just to reverse roles and make sure he is cool if he is in that position when that happens.

“If he’s cool with that, then that’s how we will be racing. There is no issue. From what I knew going into the race I was supposed to leave a gap and now I don’t know if that’s the case as it is unsure over the rules.

“But it is good that we are able to race as hard as we want to. We all want to race harder and today was a tough battle which was good.”

Hamilton added that he considers Leclerc a ‘respectful’ driver but would possibly race him differently in future.

“There is no lack of respect between drivers,” he stated.

“I don’t have a problem, we are not in a fight, I congratulated him straight after I got out of the car.

“I think Charles is one of the most respectful drivers.

“Today is the first time I’ve really come wheel-to-wheel with him and as I said when you arrive with a new driver you learn how they approach different scenarios.

“Maybe you position your car differently next time, I would do a better job next time, who knows?”

Hamilton’s world drivers’ championship lead over Bottas was snipped to 63 points at Monza, while Leclerc is fourth in 182 points, three behind Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

The Singapore Grand Prix is next on the Formula 1 calendar, on September 20-22.

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