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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has played down his fierce rivalry with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, insisting it won’t “change his life” if he were to win his first World Championship title this season.
Hamilton and Verstappen are locked in an intense battle this year, with the seven-time world champion currently leading the way by two points heading into round 16 at the Turkish Grand Prix.
With the championship ebbing and flowing this season, tensions have boiled over on track a few times already, with the two title protagonists colliding on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, and more recently, as the two crashed out of the race at Monza.
Hamilton picked up a 10-second time penalty for his part in the Silverstone crash, with Verstappen hit with a three-place grid drop for the shunt at the Italian Grand Prix.
However, speaking on Thursday ahead of the race in Turkey, Verstappen was clear to point out he’s feeling pretty relaxed about the whole situation, despite just seven races remaining.
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When asked how he was appearing so relaxed ahead of the weekend with so much at stake, the Dutchman replied: “I always do my best and I know that the team is also doing the best they can, and if that’s going to be at the end of the year, first I mean that’s, of course, an amazing achievement and that’s what we work for.
“But even if we would finish second I think we still would have had a great season. “And at the end of the day, it’s not really going to change my life, I mean, I enjoy what I’m doing and I think that’s also very important.
“So, for me, there is not much to worry about really.”
Hamilton is vying for his eighth world title, to overtake Michael Schumacher in the history books, whilst Verstappen is yet to win a title in his Formula One career.
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Red Bull are also eyeing up their first title since 2013 after Mercedes have dominated the past seven years during the hybrid era.
Yet the 24-year-old was insistent that the team were feeling calm about the remaining few races of the season.
When asked how they were approaching the weekend in Turkey, Verstappen replied: “It’s the same as always, I mean we’re very relaxed but also very focused and of course.
“We want to win the whole team wants to win, and so that mentality is definitely there but there is nothing you can force, or you have to stress about because we always want to do the best we can anyway.
“So that’s what we’ll try to do of course this weekend.
“You shouldn’t really stress it, I know that my team does the best they can, right.
“And they expect that from me and I always tried to get the best out of that so we are fully committed to try and make this a success together.
“But you cannot force things, you just have to work well and work hard together, and then we’ll find out at the end of the season where that will put us, is that first? Is that second? We don’t know.”
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