Max Verstappen told to ‘keep cool’ as Lewis Hamilton title fight threatens to boil over

Former F1 driver Damon Hill reckons it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Max Verstappen to “keep his cool” in the championship fight against seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The battle between the pair has ebbed and flowed for the entire season, with tensions boiling over at various points throughout the season, most notably the British and Italian Grand Prix.

The United States though could have been a pivotal moment for Red Bull, as Verstappen won around the Circuit of the Americas, somewhere that was hailed “Hamilton territory” by Christian Horner.

But with such pressure to seal the deal on a maiden title, Hill believes crack could start to show with just five races remaining.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for Max to keep his cool now,” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

“Because he’s sort of got just a tiny little glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. That little light that says, ‘You’re a world champion’.

“I think, my God, to keep your cool now. You know, that it can all swing the other way. In some senses, it’s yours to lose. You’ve almost got it, but you can lose it, and that is a tension as much as it’s a relief.

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“Sometimes it’s harder to hold this precious thing and protect it, than it is to chase after something.”

It’s the first time for nearly a decade that Mercedes have found themselves in such a tense battle to the end of the season, after winning back-to-back titles across both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship

But Hill was left pondering if Mercedes and Hamilton had enough in their locker to challenge Red Bull.

“Lewis has often said he’d prefer to be the predator than the prey,” the 1996 World Champion added.

“What has Lewis actually got to attack with? It looks like he’s losing the things he needs to attack Max.

“So I think, in some senses, Max is comfortable with the fact that the car can do the job for him, and he can do the job.

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“We are all confident within the team that we can do a really good job – but we need to nail the details and we have to start over again in Mexico, to try to get the best out of our whole package.

“First of all, I think the turnaround from Friday to Saturday with the car, I think we found a better set-up.

“But then again also to the race. We, of course, start on pole, we lose the [lead] and we went aggressive on strategy and it paid out.

“But it can also very easily swing, if you go too early or if you’re not reacting in time so it’s really tough out there when it’s so close between two teams.”