Lewis Hamilton has revealed the "tactic" Max Verstappen was deploying that led to the bizarre collision between the championship rivals during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The title battle erupted in Jeddah with various flashpoints between the duelling pair, with the most controversial landing Verstappen a 10-second penalty.
Hamilton's victory with the fastest lap ensures the drivers enter the season finale level on points although with Verstappen ahead on countback of wins.
After being adjudged to have left the track and gained an advantage when robustly defending the lead from Hamilton into turn one on lap 37, Verstappen was instructed to hand the position to the Mercedes driver.
Lines were blurred between the teams and the FIA when it came to communication and in the confusion, Hamilton hit the back of the slowing Dutchman as he attempted the redress.
Asked why he had not just driven past the Red Bull, Hamilton explained: "It really wasn't clear.
"There are two scenarios. One is that it wasn't clear, two that I didn't get the information and then it became apparent that he was trying to let me past, which I guess he was asked to do, but before the DRS zone.
"So that would have meant he would just DRSd back past me... followed me through the last corner and then DRSd me into turn one. So that was the tactic.
"The worst part was just the steep, heavy braking that then happened at one point, which then I had to.. that is when we collided. That was the dangerous part."
Hamilton recalls Raikkonen incident of old
Verstappen was also given a five-second penalty for the advantage gained when defending his position despite attempting to give the place back to Hamilton on three occasions.
For the seven-time champion, the situation triggered memories of his infamous Belgian Grand Prix battle with Kimi Raikkonen 12 years ago when driving for McLaren.
"I was just reminiscing about 2008 in Spa, in my first championship-winning year when I was fighting Kimi into the last corner and he ran me wide and I went across the chicane and I had to let him back past," added Hamilton.
"But then I overtook him straight away and I remember Charlie Whiting telling the team it was okay and then finishing the race and then ending up finishing third.
"At this point, I knew Max had overtaken us by going over turn two which at the beginning of the race we were told wasn't allowed.
"But I didn't get the information yet that he would be backing off so all of a sudden, he started backing off into 27 but it wasn't quite clear for me. It was a bit confusing.
"All of a sudden, he slowed at a rapid pace and that was when I had to avoid going completely up the backside of him. I felt grateful that I didn't take us both out.
"For me, I need to be finishing both races and get all these points and it is obviously tough to do so with these circumstances. I managed to keep the car in one piece."
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