The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers have fought all season long and head into the closing stretch of a rollercoaster season neck and neck.
They have even collided twice – in Britain and Italy – as well as being involved in other notable wheel-to-wheel incidents such as in Brazil a fortnight ago.
With no quarter given between the two, Hamilton knows it could again come down to a close fight on the track but has insisted he has to use his brain with bigger things at stake.
“Rather than giving someone the benefit of the doubt, you have to know that’s what’s going to happen,” he told the BBC.
“So you always have to be ready to avoid a collision at all costs, [even] if it means going wide, because you want to see the end of the race, right? If you’re stubborn and you hold your ground, you’re going to crash.
“So that’s what I’ve just tried to do. I’ve tried to make sure I avoid the collision. And I think I’ve been pretty decent at it in most scenarios. You can’t always get it perfect.”
He added: “I don’t mind being the one that… I am not too big or too successful to have to back out to fight another day. I know that is sometimes the route you have to take. You have to be the smarter one.
“And sometimes you lose points in doing that, for sure, but it’s not just about me. I have 2,000 people behind me and through that selfish decision I could make – ‘No, I’m going to hold my ground’ and don’t finish – that costs all my team potential bonuses at the end of the year, all the hard work they have to do, the damage of the car. I am conscious of those things also.”
Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points with just two races of the season remaining.