Lewis Hamilton has no intention of claiming an unprecedented eighth world title this year by causing an infamous if decisive collision with Max Verstappen, the Briton told reporters on Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, the seven-time champion Mercedes driver rejected reported suggestions from his team boss Toto Wolff that the outcome might be settled by a ‘Senna-Prost’ crash.
In a recent interview with British tabloid the Daily Mail, Wolff was quoted saying that if the championship went down to the final race then “whoever is in front (on points) is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years.”
Hamilton said he had not seen “what Toto has said, but I highly doubt he would insinuate that would ever be the case. We have never won a championship in that way. I have never won a championship in that way and I would never want to.
“From my perspective and point of view, I am here to win and in the right way and that is through sheer skill, determination and hard work.”
Prost and Senna collided at the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grands Prix, each incident deciding the destiny of the championship in controversial circumstances amid much acrimony.
Hamilton was more circumspect when asked if he feared that Verstappen of Red Bull, who holds a 12-point lead with five races remaining, may not have the same opinion.
“We have been racing hard all year,” he said. “It’s what motor racing is all about and it is the reason it has been the most exciting season since God knows when. That is why we also have more fans watching than ever.
“People are going to have opinions, whether they know what they’re talking about or whatever, and just going back to it, you know how I have won my championships in the past.
“I always want to win it the right way and if you’re going to lose it, you lose it in the right way also, with dignity and knowing that you have given it your all and done things the right way.”
Hamilton and Verstappen have collided twice this season – at the British and Italian Grands Prix.
Wolff was quoted in the Daily Mail saying: “If it was to come to the scenario of the last race in Abu Dhabi and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years.”
“If you are racing for the championship and you see it fading away because the other guy is overtaking you, what tool have you got other than the one that makes sure he can’t overtake? We’ve seen it with Schumacher and Villeneuve, we saw it with Senna and Prost twice.”