Lewis Hamilton has no problems with egos clashing as he battles Max Verstappen for the 2021 Drivers' championship title, but has made it clear that "cheating" claims by the Red Bull Racing team was unnecessary.

The battle between the Mercedes driver and Verstappen has come to a boil on a number of occasions this season, and their on-track battles have spilled into the paddock with both teams going head-to-head. Red Bull chief Christian Horner and Mercedes' Toto Wolff have been at a war of words and have been exchanging jibes as the title battle got more intense.

Red Bull seemed to have the superior car going into the final races of the campaign, especially at races in Mexico and Brazil. After Verstappen's triumph in Mexico, he was again expected to be favourite at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, but Hamilton's new engine saw the Briton blow the competition out of the water and take a dominant win.

Horner alleged that the Mercedes' rear wing was flexing on the straights handing the Silver Arrows an unfair advantage in terms of straight line speed. Apart from the flexible rear wing, Mercedes also introduced a new power unit that gave added horse power to Hamilton in his chase for first place in Brazil after starting 10th on the grid.

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen is likely to increase his 12-point lead in the next two F1 races Zak Mauger/POOL

The engine advantage and the straight line speed has again made Hamilton's Mercedes the favourite going into this weekend's Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. Horner is expected to call it out again if the Brackley-based team hold a significant advantage over the rest of the field, but Hamilton has made it clear that Mercedes are not doing anything illegal as has been insinuated.

"If it is egos fighting each other, there is defence, there is respect," Hamilton said, as quoted by the Daile Express. "But what is important, I did see someone say something about cheating, and that's the worst claim to ever make."

"We have done all these tests and this is where it is. I don't like it when people put that out there," the seven-time F1 Drivers' champion added.

Hamilton trails Verstappen by eight points going into the final two races of the campaign. The British driver is aware that he has a huge task on his hands, but Mercedes remain confident that their car is superior to the Red Bull at the moment.

Valtteri Bottas
Lewis Hamilton is congratulated by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas after winning a seventh drivers' crown Kenan Asyali/POOL