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‘The new generation get away with a lot more’ says Hamilton after tense Leclerc battle

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Italian GP winner Charles Leclerc’s robust defence was not penalised during his intense fight for victory with Lewis Hamilton at Monza, leaving his five-time world champion rival to suggest the younger generation of drivers “get away with a lot more” in wheel-to-wheel battles…

Hamilton looked like the faster of the two drivers for much of the race as he harried the Ferrari and threw everything at trying to make a pass stick. There were some close encounters, one of which forced Hamilton to take to the run-off, while another saw Leclerc – in his second season in F1 – cut the first chicane after a lock-up but still retain the lead.

“It doesn’t really matter what I think,” said Hamilton. “I don’t really have anything to say about it. We’ve gone over and over it multiple times, it’s pointless me bringing it up. I avoided the collision, and just kept focusing on trying to get close again.

“It seems like the new generation get away with a lot more in that space, of how they manoeuvre their car compared to I’d say the more experienced drivers. But it’s good knowledge, now I know, and I look forward to the next one.”

Italian GP: Hamilton pressures leader Leclerc into Turn 1 error

At one stage, Leclerc was shown the black and white flag, the equivalent of football’s yellow card. When asked for his view on its use at Monza, Hamilton said: “We’ve just constantly asked for consistency. There was a rule put in place, and then it wasn’t abided by today.

“They used different consequences for the rule today. I don’t know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed this morning, I don’t know.”

Hamilton ultimately finished the race third, collecting a bonus point for fastest lap, while Leclerc took his second successive victory by holding off Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes on older tyres.

READ MORE: ‘If there’s one race you have to win with Ferrari…’

It was clear that Hamilton was keen not to get into a slanging match with Leclerc over the battle, instead suggesting it would be better for the two to discuss the matter behind closed doors.

“I’m not unhappy,” he said. “Of course I don’t like to go backwards, but he did a fantastic job today. I put on as much pressure as I could. We had a couple of close moments, I think we can probably talk about it in private together, but there’s nothing major, and we continue to race. I’m looking forward to more races together.”

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