‘We’re ruthless… that’s what you have to be’ – Lewis Hamilton opens up on relationship with F1 nemesis Max Verstappen

LEWIS HAMILTON  opened up on his relationship with Formula One rival Max Verstappen — insisting they are both ‘ruthless’.

Hamilton missed out on a record eighth F1 world title at the Abu Dhabi GP in December, as Dutch star Verstappen snatched victory in controversial circumstances.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are set to resume their rivalry next weekCredit: Getty

The two traded blows all season only for Hamilton to fall at the final hurdle when former race director Michael Masi failed to follow safety-car rules.

Tempers boiled over but Hamilton maintains there is still a level of respect between him and Red Bull champion Verstappen.

Ahead of the first race of the new season in Bahrain next weekend, Mercedes ace Hamilton said: “You’ve got to be careful, the way people hype up drama, it creates a narrative for the fans — and for me and Max.

“We see each other in the paddocks, things are normal. We’re just two drivers and we have a sense of how much we both like driving.

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“On the other side, we’re ruthless — that’s what you have to be — hopefully with a bit of compassion.

“We are fighters, there are no friends on the track. Some days we get it right, some days we get it wrong but it’s important we keep some respect.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has done a U-turn on his quoted remarks regarding the legality of the new Mercedes car.

Horner was quoted by a German publication, where he questioned Merc’s new slimline design, but now says it seems to conform to the regulations.

He added: “It looks like it ticks the legality boxes.”

Horner has also been criticised following the latest release of Drive to Survive on Netflix.

As Hamilton is making a speech on the podium, the footage cuts to Horner, who says: “I wish he’d shut the f*** up. How many times do we have to watch this s***?”

It comes as the show’s creators denied that they manipulated the last race.

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Co-producer James Gay-Rees said: “It was just people under enormous pressure making decisions in the moment.”

Elsewhere, McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo tested positive for Covid — but should still be ready for the F1 opener in Bahrain.

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