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Hamilton denies exaggerating injury, says he wants fair fight

Lewis Hamilton on Thursday dismissed rivals’ suggestions that he exaggerated his injuries after the Italian Grand Prix and said he used acupuncture and yoga to recover for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton also suggested that Max Verstappen could be feeling the pressure of chasing a first title.

Hamilton, a seven-time champion, escaped from his damaged Mercedes at Monza 11 days ago after Verstappen’s Red Bull landed on his cockpit.

Hamilton said he had a sore neck and headaches after his car’s ‘halo’ protection system saved his life and that he had been fortunate not to be seriously injured or worse. 

The 36-year-old Briton stressed that he remained confident that he and the 23-year-old Dutchman, who is five points ahead in the title race, could compete in a hard, but fair and professional manner.

Hamilton dismissed claims by Red Bull’s director Helmut Marko that he and Mercedes had “put on a show” at Monza before the defending champion flew to New York to attend the Met Gala the following day. 

“I don’t really listen to what these individuals talk about,” he said. “I mean, it is natural when a car lands on your head you are going to have some discomfort…

“I didn’t say I was dying,” he said, adding that he was “aware of the fact that in just a millisecond anything can happen so (I am) grateful to come out of it not badly injured. We move on…

“I definitely felt some pain after the race and I said I was going to get it checked out.”

He said he worked with a physiotherapist “after the race and during the flight, had check-ups the next day and just worked on it through the week with acupuncture and everything.”

A rear wheel of Verstappen’s car struck both the ‘halo’ and Hamilton’s helmet during their crash.

Hamilton said he had continued to receive physiotherapy “all week” and was now “feeling good”.

He refused to discuss the incident in further detail, adding: “I’m just not putting any energy towards that. I’m just focusing all my energy on moving forwards.

“We are battling for a championship,” he said.

If Verstappen comes out on top it will be his first title.

“I remember what it was like battling for my first championship and obviously I’m fighting in something like my tenth title battle,” said Hamilton. 

“I think what is important is that we continue to race hard, but fair. I have no doubts that we will both be professional and learn from the past.

“Ultimately we all have to be smart, and know that there is a time you are not going to make the corner. It’s all about that you get to live to fight another day for the next corner.

“Naturally, through experience, you find that it’s not all won in one corner. I’m hopeful we won’t have any more incidents through the year.” 

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