Lewis Hamilton has laughed off the suggestion that he would drive Max Verstappen off the track in a desperate attempt to win the world title.

The defending champion was responding to no other than his Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s claim in Sportsmail this week, ‘that if it was to come to last race in Abu Dhabi and they were to be racing each other for the title, whoever is in front is absolutely going to try to do the same as in the Senna-Prost years.’

Ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, Hamilton said: ‘Firstly, I have not read what Toto said but I highly doubt he would insinuate that.

Lewis Hamilton at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on Thursday

Max Verstappen (right) and Lewis Hamilton (left) are engaged in a compelling title race (pictured as they clashed in Monza in September)

‘We have never won a championship that way. I have never won a championship in that way and I wouldn’t want to. I am here to win in the right way and that is through sheer skill, determination and hard work.

‘I always want to win with dignity. Or lose with dignity. You can then fight another day.’ 

Hamilton also highlighted his fears at how the tightest fight of recent years could be distorted by Covid-19. A positive test would potentially rule one of the two contenders out of a race or more.

‘I have been through two (non-F1) events this year, both where everyone has been vaccinated and PCR tested before they go,’ said Hamilton, who contracted the virus last year and missed a race in Bahrain.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff suggested Hamilton would drive Verstappen off the track

‘I try to keep my distance from everyone when I am in those rooms. Most people who are not in this sport are not taking it seriously.

‘I have read that footballers don’t put too much focus on it and if they miss a game it doesn’t make too difference, but here it does.

‘But we are allowing fans in that have not been tested and the photographers are back in the paddock. I know things are opening up more but I anticipate they will need to make changes because it is a tough bubble to keep.’

Lewis Hamilton insists he would never fight dirty to win the Formula One world title

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