Hamilton cannot afford to take any risks

Lewis Hamilton   | Photo Credit: DAN MULLAN

Lewis Hamilton will bid to keep alive his hopes of a historic eighth Formula One world title at the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP this weekend, powered by the new engine that aided his remarkable triumph in Brazil.

After consecutive victories in Sao Paulo and Qatar, Mercedes’ defending champion seeks to complete a hat-trick, or see championship leader Max Verstappen suffer a setback, on the streets of the high-speed Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

If he succeeds and trims the Red Bull driver’s eight-point advantage to just one, or even zero, in Sunday’s race, the title will be decided by a final winner-takes-all showdown in Abu Dhabi on December 12.

But Hamilton knows it is a perilous challenge and that he cannot afford to take any risks. Verstappen will take the title on Sunday if he wins and Hamilton finishes outside the top six.

“You just have to be very careful — more cautious than ever before,” said Hamilton, stressing the importance of avoiding an accident.

“You have to be ready to do whatever you can to avoid a collision even if it means leaving the track,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor Und Sport. “After all, you want to finish the race. If you are too stubborn and defend your position, you will crash.”

The Briton and Verstappen have collided twice already this year, at Silverstone and Monza, and had several near-misses in a season filled with incidents and arguments. The challenging track appears likely to favour Hamilton’s Mercedes.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 9:23:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/races/hamilton-cannot-afford-to-take-any-risks/article37812581.ece

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