Lewis Hamilton has suggested rival Max Verstappen behaves differently around him on track due to his success in F1 with Mercedes.
The Briton, who has amassed seven world championships, including six with the Silver Arrows, went head-to-head with Red Bull's Verstappen for the title in 2021.
After a controversial end to the year, Hamilton was unable to fight back as the W13's deficiencies saw Mercedes drop to third in the constructors' standings.
But when the pair met again on track at the São Paulo Grand Prix, Verstappen attempted to overtake Hamilton before contact sent both down the order.
In the aftermath, the Mercedes driver claimed he felt targeted by his rival.
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Asked why he felt that way, Hamilton told Channel 4: "I feel like it is self-explanatory.
"You have to listen to the words that certain individuals say about me, competitor-wise, and also look back at the way those individuals behave on track around me. It kind of shows you it is most often a little bit different to others.
"I can't explain exactly why but part of it is for sure to do with the time I have had here, the experience I have had here, the success I have had here."
Explaining how a role reversal confirms his theory, Hamilton added: "I know because when I got to the sport, that target was someone else who had had the success and my goal was to challenge them.
"You almost wanted to show how tough you were, how good you were compared to that person, etcetera."