Verstappen and the remaining of the drivers have been warming up on the Sochi Autodrom at this time, with Valtteri Bottas quickest in each practices.
Yesterday, Verstappen shunned Hamilton’s suggestion that he is likely to be feeling the stress of a title struggle.
The pair arrived in Russia this weekend separated by simply 5 factors, with Verstappen sustaining a slender lead over the seven-time World Championship winner following their dramatic collision in Italy final outing.
Upon touchdown in Sochi, Hamilton was requested if he believed Verstappen was feeling the warmth of their title rivalry, which had simmered lengthy earlier than the crash at Monza.
“Obviously, he won’t admit it and I’m not going to make an assumption,” Hamilton replied. “But I’m just saying I remember what it was like when I had my first one and it definitely mounted up.”
“It was difficult, it was intense, I was going through a lot of different emotions, I didn’t always handle it the best and that’s to be expected. There’s a lot of pressure, you’re working in a big team, there’s a lot of self-expectation and pressure because the desire to win is huge,” Hamilton added.
The Englishman’s reply was relayed to Verstappen, who proceeded to reply with greater than a touch of sarcasm.
“Yeah, I’m so nervous, I can hardly sleep. It’s so horrible to fight for a title. I really hate it,” Verstappen mentioned.
“No, I think if someone really knows me, I’m very relaxed about all those things and I really can’t be bothered, you know, I’m very chilled. It’s the best feeling ever to have a car, a great car where you go into every weekend and you can fight for a win,” he continued.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re just leading a championship or not, those comments just shows you that he doesn’t really know me, which is fine, I don’t need to know him, how he is fully.
“I simply give attention to myself and I actually take pleasure in it on the market at the entrance and, of course, hopefully we are able to do it for a very very long time.”
Tensions have been bubbling between the two title chasers all season, with hostilities extending to the respective team principals at Red Bull and Mercedes.
With Verstappen retired from the race, the fact that Hamilton went on to take victory at Silverstone only intensified the rivalry — Verstappen tweeting his disappointment at Hamilton’s “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” celebrations.
The dramatic crash at Monza earlier this month rocketed tensions to new heights, figuratively and literally, as Verstappen’s car landed on top of Hamilton’s following a wheel-to-wheel engagement.
Hamilton, who said after the race he felt “lucky to be alive,” told his team via the radio that the Red Bull driver had forced him wide, while Verstappen could be heard saying “that is what you get when you do not depart the area.”