Hamilton will change way he races after Leclerc Monza F1 battle

Scott Mitchell
Autosport
Hamilton will change way he races after Monza
Hamilton will change way he races after Monza

Lewis Hamilton will change the way he races and interprets what is acceptable in battle as long as Formula 1's rulemakers stand by new precedents being set.

Hamilton was unable to pass Charles Leclerc in the Italian Grand Prix, during which he complained about not being left a car's width while battling with the Ferrari driver and suggested his rival was being "dangerous" after another move.

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Drivers have received more leniency since the Austrian GP, a race in which Leclerc lost victory after being bumped wide by Max Verstappen, as officials seek to allow harder racing to take place without penalties.

Leclerc said he learned from that experience at the Red Bull Ring and knew he could be more aggressive while battling Hamilton as a result, whereas last Sunday's battle was Hamilton's first time in a wheel-to-wheel fight for victory since officiating became less strict.

Hamilton suggested in the post-race press conference at Monza that the stewards were not being consistent, but when pushed later on what his issue was by Autosport he clarified that he wanted to know exactly what was acceptable.

"I don't think there's an issue, if that's how we're able to race then I'll race like it," he said.

"As long as we know you're allowed to not leave a car's width, and you don't have to do that now.

"As long as you're not contradicting us, as long as we've got a clear message, that we're allowed to run wide if someone's there and you only get a warning flag.

"Then you only need that once to potentially keep the guy behind you.

"As long as it's clear, and that's the way going forwards, then it's fine.

"It's just so I know how to go into battle, same for all the drivers."

Hamilton will change way he races after Monza
Hamilton will change way he races after Monza

The FIA has worked with teams to review various incidents from this season and earlier, to establish how it can enforce the rules without being draconian.

It is hoped this will allow more so-called racing incidents to pass without a penalty having to be applied.

One example of this practice being enforced is the revival of the black/white warning flag as an equivalent of football's 'yellow card' to warn drivers they risk being penalised.

Leclerc received one of these for moving under braking at the Roggia chicane, where Hamilton ended up being forced onto the run-off.

Hamilton stressed there was "absolutely zero issue" with Leclerc and all he would be interested in should the two drivers speak about their Monza fight would be to establish Leclerc is "cool" if the positions end up reversed and Hamilton drives in that manner.

"If that's cool, that's how we race," he said.

"You're supposed to leave a gap, and now I don't know if that's the case because that's unsure with the rules.

"It's good we're able to race hard. It was a tough battle and that's good."

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