Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will continue colliding on track with neither willing to concede owing to it now becoming psychological, says Jack Nicholls. The BBC F1 commentator's views were backed up by Williams reserve driver Jack Aitkins, who says victory at every corner is necessary for both drivers.

The Mercedes and Red Bull Racing duo developed an intense, almost toxic rivalry during the 2021 season while competing for the Drivers' World Championship. Hamilton and Verstappen collided on more than one occasion with the biggest accidents occurring in Silverstone and Monza.

The Dutch racer went on to claim the 2021 title in controversial fashion, and the rivalry was expected to continue in 2022. However, Mercedes' inability to develop a competitive car saw Red Bull run away with both the Drivers' and Constructors' titles without much of a threat.

Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (left) and Red Bull's Max Verstappen collided during the Italian Grand Prix in Monza AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

Mercedes trailed Red Bull for most of the 2022 season, but in Brazil, the Silver Arrows team was on par with the newly crowned champions. George Russell won the race, but Hamilton's race was ruined after a collision with Verstappen in the opening stages.

The Dutchman was in third place after an early safety car period, and at the restart he made an attempt to pass Hamilton for second place. He went on the outside into Turn 1 and had the inside line going into Turn 2, but Hamilton took the racing line, and left no room for Verstappen to make the pass.

Verstappen did not relent, and continued to push for an overtake that saw the two rivals collide. The Dutchman hinted after the race that the move was pre-meditated despite ruining his race, and earning him a five-second time penalty.

Aitkins, Williams' reserve driver, feels the battle between the two is now psychological with neither driver willing to give the other the upper hand. The young British racer was backing up Nicholls' comments stating that both drivers are now willing to crash rather than give up the advantage.

"They can't give an inch to each other. As soon as one gives an inch it's such a win in the psychological battle, isn't it? When you're up against that guy, you know every time you see them on track you cannot give this guy anything," Aitkins said, as quoted on Sportskeeda.

"You just have to win every time, every corner, every time you go side by side because it's such a blow when you don't, you know, it has a bigger picture."

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP