FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton keeps poker face as he chases down Rosberg

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has likened his “intense” Formula One title battle with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to a game of poker.

The drivers’ standings are currently led by German Rosberg on 202 points, with Briton Hamilton 11 points behind in second and eight races of the season remaining.

The relationship between the drivers was subject to scrutiny when Hamilton refused to allow Rosberg to pass during the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, acting against team orders.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has since said he can see the pair’s rivalry potentially getting “more heated”, but has also stressed it has “functioned really well” up to this point.

Hamilton admits this particular title fight has more to it to some of those he has been a part of in the past.

The 29-year-old said: “The battle does feel a lot more intense this year.

“When I was racing against Kimi Raikkonen (in 2007) and Felipe Massa (in 2008, the year he won the title), they were in a different team and their cars had different strengths and weaknesses to my car and, in my team, it was just me that was really competing with them.

“Now I’m racing against a guy who has the same car as me - we both have access to exactly the same data and feedback so it is really hard to try and be ahead.

“It’s a little bit like playing poker - you have a set of cards and the other guy is not supposed to know what you got, but Nico and I can see each other’s cards so then it’s more difficult to beat each other.”