Lewis Hamilton is adamant he will not crack under the pressure of his intense F1 title fight with Max Verstappen.
The rivalry has exploded on track with the two coming to blows at the British and Italian Grands Prix.
Last out at Monza, Hamilton said he was lucky to be alive after Verstappen landed his Red Bull racecar on to the top of his Mercedes – earning the Dutchman a three-place grid penalty here in Sochi.
Hamilton, who is locked in to his 10th title fight, was quizzed whether Verstappen’s actions were showing he is struggling to cope with the added pressure.
He said: “Obviously he won’t admit to it, I’m not going to make an assumption.
“But I’m just saying I remember [my first one] was difficult. It was intense. I was going through a lot of different emotions, I didn’t always handle it the best. And that’s to be expected, it’s a lot of pressure.
“You’re working in a big team, there’s a lot of self-expectation and pressure because the desire to win is huge.”