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Hamilton: 'Huge amount of respect' between Vettel and I

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Lewis Hamilton’s relationship with Sebastian Vettel has threatened to boil over in the past, but the two have developed a deep mutual respect, according to Mercedes’ newly crowned six-time champion.

Hamilton’s perennial presence at the front of F1 over the last 12 years has been punctuated by flashpoints, including tension with Fernando Alonso during the Briton’s debut season in 2007, Nico Rosberg in 2015 and ’16 – who could forget their clashes including that hat throw in the USA? – and most recently minor 'beef' with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Yet, he shares a bond with Vettel, who like Hamilton made his debut in 2007, as he revealed after last weekend's Austin race.

“Me and Seb have a huge amount of respect for each other, and I think it’s grown over time,” he said.

US GP: Vettel pays visit to cooldown room to congratulate champion Hamilton

“Being at the forefront of the sport and both appreciating just how hard it is, individually, for us to do what we do. And I guess also over time Seb does his thing his own way, I do it my own way and we respect that about each other.

“There’s no judgement there and I think these tough battles that we’ve had together last year have brought us closer in that respect and it means a huge amount to have respect from other drivers.”

READ MORE: Why Hamilton’s sporting greatness transcends Formula 1

Tough battles indeed, as Vettel has kept Hamilton on his toes for the past few years, leading to such flashpoints as their clash behind the Safety Car at Baku in 2017, a Turn 4 crash at Monza in 2018 and their 2019 Canadian GP battle – after which Vettel moved the #1 sign from in front of Hamilton’s car.

Next up for the two this season is the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Vettel has picked up three F1 wins – compared to Hamilton’s two – on a circuit that has consistently provided nothing short of spectacular, and at times controversial, racing.

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