Hamilton warns Red Bull: You can’t play mind games with me
Lewis Hamilton has warned Red Bull against trying to play mind games in a bid to unsettle him as he targets a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 world title this year.
Red Bull initially launched a protest against Mercedes‘ DAS system ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix that was rejected by the stewards.
Then shortly before the race, Red Bull presented the FIA with evidence Hamilton had breached yellow-flag rules in qualifying, leading to it issuing a three-place grid drop just 41 minutes prior to the start.
After the race, in which Hamilton collected a five-second time penalty for a collision with Alex Albon, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner criticised the 35-year-old and suggested he should alter his approach.
Asked of Hamilton whether he felt Red Bull had to resort to mind games to beat him this season, the Mercedes driver replied: “I can’t answer for them. If they don’t know me better by now, mind games don’t work. I guess they’ll eventually learn.”
Perhaps of greater concern for Hamilton this season is team-mate Valtteri Bottas who secured pole position and the race win to take an early advantage in a season that is likely to run to around 15 races.
The key for Bottas now is to keep the early momentum going. He added: “It’s only one race, and of course you get a positive feeling from starting a season like that, and you want to carry the positive momentum and keep the confidence you get from that.
“So I think, that’s the plan for the season. The races will come pretty rapidly so being efficient in the learnings and how you work with the team is going to be the key.”