Mexico City GP: Max Verstappen plays down Lewis Hamilton title 'pressure', won't change approach
Max Verstappen still unflappable when discussing title pressure but admits: "There's still a lot of races to go and a lot of things can go wrong."; Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points with five races remaining, starting with Mexico City GP
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 05/11/21 3:37pm
Max Verstappen has once again shrugged off the pressure of his title fight against Lewis Hamilton and is refusing to dream of a maiden world championship, or change his approach, as the season heads into its defining home stretch.
Verstappen holds a 12-point lead over Hamilton ahead of a thrilling run of five races in six weeks to finish one of F1's greatest title battles, starting with this weekend's Mexico City GP - live on Sky Sports F1.
On Thursday's media day, seven-time champion Hamilton - not for the first time this season - mentioned Verstappen's inexperience as he said: "I know Max has not won a championship in a long, long time. I know what it's like going for your first championship, and I know the pressures that come with that."
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But Verstappen, just as he has been on the track this season, was unflappable in his response when asked in his own press conference how he has managed to handle said pressure.
"I like what I'm doing, you know?," he replied. "So that takes the pressure off.
"It's not the first time I've been in a championship fight. Yes, the first time in F1 but not in my life so that doesn't really change because you need to win, and that's what I've been doing in the past so I need to strive to do the same here."
The Mexico City GP looks set to be a strong weekend for Verstappen, who has claimed two victories at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a circuit that tends to suit Red Bull and Honda's package.
But Verstappen stressed: "You can look good on paper but you still have to nail your set-up. It might look good for us but we have to be on it from P1 onwards and make sure we go in the right direction with the car."
He added to Sky F1 about his title chances: "There's still a lot of races to go and a lot of things can go wrong. I just need to be focused on this weekend and then after this we'll focus on the next, and then we'll see in Abu Dhabi."
One thing is for sure, Verstappen will not be changing his often uncompromising racing approach.
"My approach will be the same as the whole year," said Verstappen, who has crashed heavily with Hamilton twice this year. "I always try to score the most available points out there, I always have, like Lewis does, like everyone else does. Of course you always try to keep it clean."
First practice in Mexico City takes place at 5.30pm on Friday.