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Verstappen as teammate holds no fear for Hamilton

NEWS STORY
02/08/2019

Along with the warring Haas teammates and Sebastian Vettel's rollercoaster season, the media loves nothing more than fantasising about the prospect not only of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen going head-to-head, but in the same equipment.

When it emerged that the Dutch youngster has a clause in his contract that could see him released by Red Bull early, sections of the media immediately seized upon the prospect of Verstappen seeking the hottest ticket in F1, the second Mercedes seat.

Speaking at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, at a time various quotes doubting Hamilton's superior skills are being attributed to Verstappen, the Briton was asked his thoughts.

"I honestly have no problem with it," he told reporters. "I do like working with Valtteri, so I am not too sure how that dynamic would work for the team, but I am not saying it would or it would not.

"I see positives from that move and potential negatives," he said of Verstappen joining him, "but there are always positives and negatives with different people you end up working with.

"In some ways it works well for me," he smiled. "I see stories saying that we have different cars, so that's why (I'm beating him), so it gives me an opportunity to show that's not the case."

For his part, when it was suggested to Verstappen yesterday, that, based on the equipment at their disposal, he is performing better than Hamilton, the youngster said: "I don't say any of those things, and I also don't care. What is the most important is that I perform on track."

Asked to summarise last week's race in three words, Hamilton smiled: "I'd rather not," he replied.

"I'm focused on this weekend now," he continued. "I don't have any negative feelings or carrying weight from that weekend. I'll just try and focus 100% on this weekend. I don't plan on looking back. It was just a bad day. It's something I'm conscious of. It was just a difficult weekend and these things happen."

The Briton was keen however to heap praise on his team for its openness in the wake of last weekend's Hockenheim horror show.

"It is super, super open," he said, "it is the best working environment. I don't think any team has the openness we have and I truly believe that is why we are able to move on.

"A lot of people shy away from being open or asking questions, here you can say absolutely everything and not have a filter. It means we advance so much faster. It is because of the philosophy that Toto brings, it makes it easier to work and the same with James Vowles, it transfers all the way down."

Asked how he was feeling, having almost withdrawn from the German GP due to illness, he said: "I've slept literally the last three days. So I feel a lot better.

"I'm hoping to be 100% by the weekend," he added. "I still feel I need a bit more rest. I've just been fighting off some sort of bug. But I definitely feel I am in a much, much better fighting shape for the weekend, so I can't tell you how good that feels.

"I'm looking forward to getting back in the car, which is completely different to how I was feeling last week. Last Friday, getting in the car was not such a good feeling."

Check out our Friday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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