Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he performs background checks on rivals including Max Verstappen. The Mercedes star is seeking marginal gains as he looks to overcome an eight-point gap between himself and Red Bull’s Verstappen to win an eighth World Championship.
Verstappen currently leads the race to be crowned the best driver of 2021.
An epic battle has seen the pair clash on several occasions, with their rivalry a particular highlight of the year.
And Hamilton, who won the Qatar Grand Prix to close in on Verstappen, has conceded that he performs background checks on his colleagues to see if he can gain an advantage.
“He (Verstappen) not the only driver I’ve raced against that’s like this,” the Brit told the BBC.
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“I’ve raced so many drivers in my time and they’ve all been very different in the way they behave. And it’s interesting.
“Now I’m older, I look a little bit deeper into their character and a bit of their background, upbringing.
“Our upbringing is why we act out the way we do and behave the way we do, good or bad.
“So I try to understand those so I can have more appreciation of who that character is I am racing with.”
Hamilton and Verstappen have recently collided twice, with pressure mounting as both seek to win the World Championship.
Clashes occurred and tempers reached a boiling point at both the British Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was penalised after the incident at Silverstone, while Verstappen received punishment for the incident in Italy. Red Bull boss Christian Horner accused Hamilton of being “reckless” and “amateur” following their crash at Silverstone.
However, the 36-year-old has conceded that he has no regrets over the incident.
“If you’re on the outside of a car, backing out is the sensible option pretty much all the time in order to see the end of the race,” Hamilton continued.
“If you’re on the inside, there are scenarios where I truly believe I was in the right, [when] I’m almost wheel to wheel with the car.
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“At Silverstone, for example. Go and look at the footage. My front wheel was alongside his front wheel, so it wasn’t like my wheel was next to his rear wheel going in.
“And in that scenario, if I had taken the approach [Max did] for example [in Brazil], just stayed on the gas and gone off track and then kept position, what would the scenario have been there? Would they have looked into the rules there?
“But anyways. 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. I know that is sometimes the route you have to take. You have to be the smarter one.
“And sometimes you lose points in doing that, for sure, but it’s not just about me.
“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.”