It’s a seventh world title, a feat that would bring him closer to the great Michael Schumacher, whom Hamilton aspires the most. A third victory on Sunday would tighten his grip even further.
In truth, and barring a crash or disaster, only Valtteri Bottas seems remotely capable of challenging him. Red Bull is the second best car, but it did not escape the attention of the paddock: while Hamilton’s time was 0.7 seconds faster than Bottas’ pole last year, Verstappen himself. even was a fraction slower than it was in 2019.
“We are a little closer in the race,” said the Dutchman. “I’m not saying I’m going to fight them but at least you have a chance to fight by starting third. ”
Behind Verstappen on the grid is Charles Leclerc who delivered Ferrari’s best qualifying performance of the year. The Italian team are struggling with their long-term racing pace, and it would be a surprise if they managed to stick with their rivals.
The season has only three races but it was pretty obvious from the start that the constructors’ championship result was a given. We have to hope Bottas can challenge Hamilton, but it has to be said that he has to take some of Hamilton’s five-point lead here and possibly next weekend as well.
Unless something unusual happens, it’s hard to see Verstappen’s Red Bull posing too much of a problem for the Mercedes. Still, a good fight up front and also in the midfield would make a great race. We often have them here …