Lewis Hamilton has conceded to having "fun and games" with F1 title rival Max Verstappen ahead of their latest showdown going into the United States Grand Prix.
The championship-chasing duo, separated by just six points in the drivers' standings, face another highly anticipated start for the race at Austin's Circuit of the Americas, with Hamilton alongside polesitter Verstappen.
The bitter rivals provided a potential taster of what is to come during second practice on Friday when Hamilton appeared to push Verstappen wide through the final corner before they went wheel to wheel along the main straight and up the hill into turn one.
The move culminated in Red Bull driver Verstappen giving way to his Mercedes counterpart, leading to him calling the seven-time champion a "stupid idiot" and giving him the middle finger.
Asked whether that was a case of him laying down a marker and offering a glimpse of what could unfold in the race, Hamilton said: "Firstly, I didn't run him wide.
"He decided to go around the outside and ended up going wide. We were battling into the last corner.
"It's all fun and games, we're going to have fun [in the race], give it everything as you would expect. There's no real difference to any part of the season."
Verstappen promises professional approach
Turn one at the track has delivered some pulsating action over the years, and could again be the scene for a key part of the season given the incidents that have unfolded this year between the pair, notably at Silverstone and Monza.
Questioned as to how they would tackle the start, Verstappen said: "Like we always try, as professionals.
"I don't see why we always have to keep this up. It's not like we are the only ones to have touched in this sport, and these things happen, unfortunately.
"We're on the front row again and everyone is just expecting a great race. That's what we also expect as drivers, and we just want to have a really good race."
Offering his thoughts, Hamilton added: "I hope we make it through turn one and we get a good race [but] I don't think it's all decided on turn one."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.