Hamilton had an “easy ride” before Verstappen rivalry – Brown

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton is finally facing serious competition for the world championship, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes.

He sees Max Verstappen as the first credible opponent Hamilton has faced since Nico Rosberg beat him to the 2016 title.

“I think it’s great for Formula 1,” said Brown last week at a McLaren press conference to present their new livery for the Monaco Grand Prix.

“Lewis has had a pretty easy ride outside of his one year with Nico. So I think it’s a great rivalry.

Despite losing the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix to Verstappen at the start of the race, Hamilton fought back to pass his rival and take his third win of the year. The Mercedes driver holds a 14-point lead in the drivers championship ahead of this weekend’s race in Monaco.

Hamilton is on his ‘A-game’, says Brown
Brown believes Verstappen has “gotten Lewis to step up, not that he needed much stepping up. He’s definitely on his ‘A-game’.

“I think it’s clear Lewis is a very smart driver. You can just see him sitting there, waiting to strike and isn’t kind of over-eager. That’s his experience coming through.”

McLaren have been the highest-placed midfield team in three of the four races so far this year. Brown hopes the simmering rivalry between the two championship contenders will present opportunities for his team.

“Rivalries are great in the sport,” he said. “And having those two guys go at it, hopefully that at some point over the course of the year might create some opportunity for us, because I think it is just a matter of time until they both are determined to not let up into turn one and neither come out.”

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Daniel Ricciardo, a former team mate of Verstappen, has been anticipating the rivalry between the pair for a while.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021
Ricciardo believes Hamilton is now getting the credit he deserves
“We knew for a long time this was a little bit of a matter of time for Max,” he said. “We all know what his talent’s like.

Hamilton is finally getting the credit he deserves for his performances now he is up against Verstappen, Ricciardo added.

“A lot of people are probably tipping their hat to Lewis, he’s getting it dished back at him and he’s holding his ground and I guess showing people that maybe doubted him why he is as good as he is. So I think it’s going to keep going on.”

Ricciardo believes Hamilton’s greater experience will be a significant factor in the title fight.

“At this stage you’d always take experience, so if it was really like down to the wire, then I think already Lewis has showed some strong signs of that. But then again, if there’s a gap Max goes for it and that’s why I obviously respect Max a lot.”

However Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris believes the superior performance of the Mercedes and the differences between the title rivals’ team mates will make the difference.

“On average the Mercedes has looked quicker this season. They also have Bottas more often than Perez to kind of back them up and help with his strategy, which makes a big difference.

“But I think Red Bull still need to make a bit of a step to say it’s completely fair grounds. The fact Lewis could follow Max so closely for the whole race [in Spain] and then pass, although that was a strategic difference, the fact he could follow so closely for the first stint was pretty impressive and shows they’re very quick.

McLaren Monaco Grand Prix livery, 2021
Pictures: McLaren’s Monaco Grand Prix livery
“If Perez was up there, maybe you’d see some more differences and it wouldn’t look as easy as it does. But I think they’re pretty even as drivers and I think they put on a good show quite often.”

Verstappen’s first-corner lunge at Hamilton in Spain was the kind of risk he needs to take in the title fight, Norris believes.

“Like Daniel said Max goes for those opportunities like turn one, it was quite a risky thing. If Lewis turned it into someone they would have crashed. Max was pretty committed with his move.

“That’s like the opportunities Max needs to take at this stage because they’re a bit slower. It’s also what makes it fun because then Lewis has to come back through and try and get past him. So it’s fun.

“But at this stage, I think I would have to give it to Lewis and Merc because it’s Merc.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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144 comments on “Hamilton had an “easy ride” before Verstappen rivalry – Brown”

  1. Easy indeed.

    This is why this year he decided to face competition by his best ever start of a season. Take that pundits!

    1. Vettel and Ferrari led the title race for most of 2017 and a good proportion of 2018. Very disrespectful to both Vettel and Hamilton to dismiss this rivalry

      1. @amam firstly, apologies for accidentally clicking on the “report” button when I was trying to click on “reply” – did not mean to do that.

        Secondly, it is worth remembering that Vettel now drives for a team whom Zak Brown has attacked quite pointedly in public – as such, there may be an element of Zak Brown choosing to deliberately ignore that Vettel even exists as part of the ongoing political wrangling that Zak is engaging in.

        1. I feel Zak is right about Vettel. Unless in the fastest car (i.e. taking care he doesnt have to actually battle another car) Vettel will never win.

      2. Precisely right. Ferrari/Vettel was a very serious threat to Mercedes in 2017-18, especially at the start of the season.

        In the first 10 races of 2018, Vettel won 4 times, Hamilton won 3 times, Ricciardo won 2 times, and Verstappen won 1 race. Vettel was in front for the drivers championship! Hamilton then won 8 of the next 11 races.

        By the time 2019 arrived Ferrari had lost the plot. They took pole position on 9 occasions (6 races in a row!), but only converted 3 of these into a win. By comparison Verstappen took 2 pole positions, but managed to also deliver 3 rwins.

    2. Understatement of the year. Easiest ever in F1, successor of Vettel who I thought to be the luckiest.

    3. Would not have been the case had Imola played out differently…

      1. Such as Max getting a puncture when he broke Hams wing?

    4. So Vettel, a 4 time world champion no less, who challenged in 2017 and then led the 2018 championship half way in the season was no competition?
      Utterly ridiculous statement by Zak.

  2. So 2016, 2018, were easy rides.

    1. He did excuse the 2016 season in his comment but this is clearly also ignoring 2017-2019 when Ferrari did have a legitimate contender at times. It may have looked easy for Hamilton but how much is that down to just how good he is to make it look that easy. At the end of the day though this is a Zak Brown comment. I love McLaren but Zak isn’t the most reliable person to listen to in F1. He’ll say anything to get marketing attention on him and his team.

      1. Indeed @slowmo, as long as he’s saying it all from the sidelines it indeed doesn’t really say a lot to me; were McLaren the team now challenging Hamilton it might come of different (hm, though Horner saying stuff like that tends to get me annoyed, but that’s probably mostly Horner, oh, and Red Bull having talked up their game so many years only to fail to bring the car to the start of the season, until this year ;)

    2. Don’t forget 2017 as well – Vettel led the WDC from race one and still led going into the 13th of 20 races. That cannot be considered a walk in the park.

  3. Definitely – it’s great for everyone that Hamilton has an actual challenge for the first time in half a decade. Driver’s of Hamilton’s quality don’t come around often and it’s been such a huge shame that as he hit his peak, there wasn’t a quality driver in a competitive car to fight with him. Watching him cruise to easy titles will look great in the record books but there is very little that is memorable about it other than the figures alone.

    It’s been a breath of fresh air getting to see Hamilton at his best rather than only needing to give it 75% to win easily. Hopefully Red Bull can get on top of their performance issues on the medium and hard tyres and we’ll see a really close fight for the title this year.

    1. “it’s great for everyone that Hamilton has an actual challenge for the first time in half a decade”

      We’ve just had several knowledgable F1 fans, quite rightly question Brown’s airbrushing of the 2017/18 seasons

      And now you’re at it!!

      Poor Seb. Was he really that bad?

      Some of us have a good memory, though.

      For instance, as a Hamilton fan, I remember even been worried in Mexico 2017 when naughty Seb (accidentally) took him out on Lap 1 – and there was just two races left after that.

      Showing that actually this hype about the ‘vintage’ Max v Lewis rivalry is not only tiresome but disrespectful to Vettel

      1. Seb is and has indeed always been that bad. He is textbook example of the weight the car has in reaching a WDC.

        1. Davethechicken
          18th May 2021, 18:49

          That’s unfair, Mayrton.
          Vettels first race win was in an uncompetitive Toro Rosso. More than mighty Max could ever manage!
          He drove beautifully for RBR, winning 4WDC- absolutely amazing achievement. Defeated by Riccardo eventually but then again so was Max, fairly comprehensively I might add.
          I don’t see Max getting anywhere close to what Vettel has already achieved.

          1. We will have to disagree. Vettel should never have been a WDC. He simply is not a good all round racer. He can only perform on an empty track. He won races from the front row when not in traffic. The only team mate he ever beat was Webber. Thats also why Brown totally disregards him. He simply forgot about him since we really cant take his tally seriously. I’ve always found it very insulting to Prost and Senna to see him up there with his records achieved just by the cars dominance. Not a fan at all.

  4. Ouch on Vettel… Though I think Hamilton always thought and felt that he had Vettel under control all the time. Hamilton is that person at school who does not study for exams, but on exam day, he gets 90-100% LOL

    1. @krichelle actually I think Hamilton is one of the hardest workers (drivers) in the sport. Outside of race weekends he does his own thing but come the race weekends and when he’s at the factory his focus is 100% on extracting every last bit of performance from the package.

    2. Joe Pineapples
      17th May 2021, 12:11

      Yeah I was like that at school…….well the first part anyway 🤔

    3. Vettel was never really a top drawer driver to begin with. He had a huge car advantage when he was winning those titles.. and never really had a challenge from another team.

      I think Lewis always knew that there was no way Vettel would beat him unless he had an unsurmountable car advantage. When the Ferrari was close to Mercedes in terms of performance in 2017 and 2018.. I feel Lewis always knew he had it in the bag against Vettel. He wasn’t really pushed to a 100% to beat Vettel.

      Max though.. will definitely push Lewis to a 100%

      1. You know if merc is under pressure when they bring team orders back (Russia with Bottas). Until then they know they have everything under their control.

        1. Mercedes were just being cautious. They want to run everything with as low risk as possible. Ferrari did have a faster car that year.. so I could understand why the team would want to have team orders.

        2. Or when Tot starts shouting at Russell and race control on Mazepin. Would be interested to see Wolff under pressure. First signs are not good for him. However, doubt we’ll get to see more stress as Merc seem to be in their comfort zone again, cruisin’ to the ninth title

      2. Max though.. will definitely push Lewis to a 100%

        You are hopeful. Max and Red Bull already seem to be making minor mistakes. which have cost them points. If the Barcelona race pace is anything to go by, it seems there may not even be a championship challenge at all!

        1. I wouldn’t say always sumedh, but yes, so far this year their errors haven’t really been not having the car to compete, but being faultless (and not having sorted their 2nd driver fully?). I personally believe they may have gotten ‘rusty’ on competing for the actual championship where even tiny mistakes may have consequences, which would be understandable but hopefully they are as good at fixing that as they’ve been with developing their car during the season.

        2. Sure they’ve made minor mistakes… So has Lewis in Imola IIRC.

          The point is that I just don’t see Max crashing out of a race under pressure, and then, spinning every alternate race till the championship is out of reach.

          1. There is a huge gap between Max’s current level of performance (almost equal to Hamilton) and Seb’s level of performance in 2018 to 2020. A driver can very well settle somewhere in this gap rather than being only at the 2 extremes. Monaco is crucial! Red Bull should be faster in qualifying (going by Barcelona S3 times). If Verstappen does a clean job of pole position and victory, we have hope that Max can sustain his current level of performance and iron out mistakes.

            If again Max makes a mistake and misses out on the win, I then see no hope for the championship. Hamilton will then gradually gain an upper hand (aided by a slightly faster car) and eventually win the championship. Then the only question that would remain is whether he wins with 1 race to spare or 3-4 races to spare. And that will be dependent on how many spins / mistakes Verstappen makes :)

      3. Very easy to say with the benefit of hindsight

        I note that lots seem to now think that Vettel was no match. I always thought Hamilton was better, simply because Alonso saw him as his biggest rival 2010-12 (not Seb even though he had the best car)

        However, it simply wasn’t as obvious at the time and people are now simply hindsighting and airbrushing out of history how close 2017, in particular, was. Indeed without Seb’s hairbrained start at Singapore in 17′ – he probably would have won the thing, because he would have had the confidence and momentum.

        And in 2018 – Hamilton looked nowhere for the first few races, because the Ferrari was so much better

        It’s kind of sad, that like discarding an old F1 game – some F1 fans seem obsessed with the new show in town, as though there’s never been anything else

        1. Which is exactly the point. There hasnt been much else since Rosberg won is being argued. I agree Vettel has never played a role. He is just not good enough. Some overrate him because of the 4 WDC the RB car handed him. Had not much to do with his racing craft, similar to Button and Hill..

      4. @todfod Not pushed?

        Vettel led 2017 WDC from race one and was still leading going into the 13th of 20 races. At that 13th race he was on pole and massive favourite to win with Hamilton a distant P5.

        Vettel led the WDC in 2018 going into the mid-point race (11th of 21).

        1. @scbriml

          Depends on our definition of ‘pushed’ . Since when did being pushed to mid championship (race 11 to 13) be ‘pushed’? . Lewis was pushed in 2014, when it went down to the last race between Rosberg and him, and 2016, where he didn’t win the championship.

          I think as a driver, Sebastian just wasn’t formidable enough to take Hamilton to the distance. Lewis knew that in some regard, and in the last third of the season he would step up his game, knowing that Seb would drop the ball.

          1. @todfod So if Verstappen led the WDC from Bahrain and was still leading it at the 2/3 mark this year, you wouldn’t consider that a serious challenge that pushed Hamilton? A season doesn’t have to go to the last race to be a close or tight battle.

          2. @scbriml

            If Max is marginally leading the championship till 2/3rds if the season… And then he spends the rest of the season crashing, spinning and finishing behind Perez, then no.. I wouldn’t call that a challenge.

            As I mentioned, we have a different definition of being pushed. At least take it down to the last 3 races to call is a proper push.

      5. anon2/3/4/5/6
        18th May 2021, 0:40

        You forgetting how Red Bull’s most dominant season (2013) is less dominant than all of Mercedes’ season bar maybe 2017 and 2018 (and hopefully this year). In 2010 and 2012 the Red Bull was arguably not even the quickest car and most certainly wasn’t dominant. Ever notice how Webber (who is definitely not worse than Bottas) never got 2nd in the championship unlike Bottas doing it twice.

        Say what you want, Hamilton is arguably the better of the two, but Vettel’s 4 championships are more impressive than most of Hamilton’s. Hamilton’s most impressive title (2008) is on par with Vettel’s most impressive (2010), and Hamilton’s 2018 title is about as impressive as the 2012 title. You can’t simply just say because Red Bull was the best team at the time, that Vettel was never good. You’re just showing everyone that you never watched those seasons and are just a new fan who only looks at the score sheets.

        1. ScythianUnborne
          18th May 2021, 9:43

          It’s really funny that most of the people who like to pump Lewis up as if he’s this god-tier driver are probably fans that don’t really care about the sport as a whole and who either came in with Drive to Survive or in 2014. They’ve only seen the extremely aggressive marketing Lewis has gotten from the sport and the media since 2014, and literally nothing before it. Lewis really has never had an impressive title to me, even 2008 was stained by what McLaren did in 2007 (for their 2008 car), and 2018 was when Bottas had an absolutely terrible year and was used as a pick for Lewis multiple times. He’s always had the best car and team over the course of the season, and he’s always won his titles bar 2008 with more than two races to spare, same goes for his team. Vettel and Red Bull had to work hard for their titles. I never recall Lewis driving for a midfield team ever. He’s had more career and race luck than Vettel, Schumacher, Senna, and Prost combined. No driver ever in F1 history has been in such a dominant team for so long; everything about it is absolutely unprecedented and never before seen. Even the FIA refuse to definitively clamp down and stop Mercedes from dominating any more, like they did with Ferrari in 2004. The problem is that the FIA think they see a close title fight and then let Mercedes get away with everything for a few more years, only for the dominance to further increase. One can only hope that 2022 will produce a real champion who had to race for wins and a team who had to fight hard for every tenth, rather than the since-2014-underdogs Mercedes and Hamilton.

          1. I think it’s more a mix of both. So I agree with your part stating: No driver ever in F1 history has been in such a dominant team for so long. And yes he got into a champion winning car from the get go. But that was also by his own merit. And he took a solid chance on Mercedes which could have worked out differently. Whilst I agree that 7 or soon 8 titles are over the top, I do recall many many many races where I thought that without Lewis in that car they wouldnt have won. So he is also one of the greatest drivers ever. It just that 7 or 8 vs the competition in the past (Schumi, Prost, Senna) is not adequately representing his level relative to these greats. It’s a pity his fan base can not accept the fact the dominance streak is a part of his tally. That makes some discussions really weird on this site. Especially when they bring Max in. Like thats relevant at all for the discussion. I guess they try to use Max to prove Lewis is all about Lewis and not the car. So that proves they see it (the role of the dominant car) too.

      6. @todfod A huge car advantage can’t be the only reason Vettel won 29 races in 2011-13 while Webber won 3. And before you say it was because Red Bull favoured Vettel, that’s still a larger gap in race wins than Schumacher and Barrichello in 2002-04 (30 wins to 8), and I’m not sure if you’ll find many takers for a ‘Vettel was more of a no.1 than Michael in Ferrari’ theory.

        1. @wsrgo

          As I’ve mentioned before.. give Vettel a dominant car and he’ll dominate like the best of them. Give him a car that’s as good as his closest rival from another team.. and he’ll fail. His sweet spot is having a car with a qualifying advantage.. so he can put it on pole and then control the race. When the going gets tough and he actually has to go wheel to wheel racing to win championships.. he’s failed over and over again.

          1. Thats all there is to it. Completely agree. Why Aston hired him puzzles me. The only reason I can think of is for Marketing value (and making the boss’ kid looks good)

      7. Davethechicken
        18th May 2021, 18:56

        Unfair on Seb. He won his first race for Toro Rosso. 4wdc is phenomenal achievement.
        Riccardo beat Seb, but he trounced Max over their time together. If Max finishes career with half that number of WDC he will have done exceptionally well.

        1. As said Vettel was the LOAT (luckiest of all time), now beaten by Hamilton. Why bringing Max is totally unclear to me, but I do agree he might be 100x better than Vettel and only win 1 or 2 titles. Like Senna ‘only’ won 3 but was 1000x better than Vettel

          1. Davethechicken
            19th May 2021, 13:48

            I mention Max as that what what Brown was basically saying; that Max is the only challenger that Hamilton has had, which I disagree with.

    4. Nah, Hamilton is that kid in school that shows up early, stays late, and then tells everyone he feels like he is going to fail the exam, only to walk away with the highest grade of class.

    5. @krichelle I don’t think Hamilton had Vettel under control until late in the 2017 season. Vettel was 14 points ahead in Hungary (11/20 races) and finished Spa in second just two seconds behind Hamilton. It wasn’t until Italy and especially Singapore (14/20), where Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen collided, that the wheels fell off the Vettel/Ferrari title bid. Raikkonen played a key role in that collapse, it should be noted (and I’m sure was noted by Ferrari). After that the errors seemed to creep in to Vettel’s driving even more, with Ferrari making mistakes too in strategy and with the car, pushing too hard, which became the set pattern in 2018.

      1. Yep. Singapore 2017 was where the Vettel’s sheen started to fade.

        In some respects it had started at Baku and then it would well and truly be terminal at Hockenheim 18′ a race which Seb has arguably never been the same since, except perhaps Spa that year.

        1. @banbrorace I remember that at the start of 2017, Ferrari had developed a ‘siege mentality’, refusing to talk much or at all to the press, especially outside Italy, and cultivating an aggressive macho atmosphere under Arrivabene. That, for me, explains a lot about subsequent Vettel’s explosion of anger/road rage at Baku (which should have been given a black flag, I mean, come on, driving deliberately into another car in rage? That’s a ‘red card’ offence if there ever was one). But the fallout from that was bad for Vettel and Ferrari as it turned that siege mentality aggression inward. You can later see that happening at Singapore with both Ferrari drivers manically fighting for the same space with Verstappen. I’m pretty sure the bad energy from that year, continued into 2018, caused the ill feeling to grow between Vettel and Ferrari, the mistakes to pile up, and the eventual rupture between the two sides with Leclerc’s arrival. At least they seem to have stabilized with a good pair of drivers now.

          1. Good analysis

            I’ve often thought that Hamilton would have won if he’d been driving that 2017/18 Ferrari, but that toxic Arrivabene created atmosphere, wouldn’t have suited him and so maybe he would have failed

      2. anon2/3/4/5/6
        18th May 2021, 0:45

        I agree, I must say when Vettel had the slower car and worse team (2017), he outperformed Hamilton, but in 2018 when Vettel had the faster car (although Mercedes was still the better team), Hamilton shone and outperformed Vettel. You could really see the pressure and frustration starting to get to Seb by 2018 due to whatever reasons his fanboys will claim. Now it seems like he’s constantly trying to outperform a slower car resulting in many mistakes.

        I’m excited for his book though, it seems to me like he tried to stop Binotto from becoming the team principal (perhaps they had prior beef), and in the end, he lost that fight. That fight I think didn’t help him in 2018 and was the cause of conflict in 2019 and then 2020 along with how he was dropped.

        1. I thought that Ferrari was the better car in 2017 as well as 2018

  5. Wow. What a brutal and unfair put down of Seb.
    Not wise of Zaco.

    1. Lando is being the wisest here, sharp observations. And you cant put Seb down enough.. about his racing kraft that is. Most overrated driver in history, especially statistically. He is a colorful, funny chap though

      1. Davethechicken
        18th May 2021, 18:59

        I would argue Max is the most over rated. He has more GP starts than nearly all the previous WDCs have had. He will overtake Senna for race starts towards the end of next year.

        1. Yes and if he was driving the Mercedes car instead of signing at RB when he started, he would have been a 4 times world champion right now. You see. Thats what happened to Vettel. If you really think WDCs are solely won by drivers you might want to pick another sport, sorry

          1. Davethechicken
            19th May 2021, 13:55

            There is no objective reference to suggest he would beat Bottas the way Hamilton has. None. Just that he must be better because he beat Albon and Gasly.
            I love F1 and have watched every race for over 30 years. I am not planning to stop any time soon!
            I understand very well how much a car is a factor. I recognise Max as a good driver.
            What Seb achieved was phenomenal. Sure his car was best, but Hamilton was a tough opponent, as was Alonso.
            My remark about Max being over hyped is born by a simple lack of objectively amongst many forum posters especially here.
            30 years ago there was no social media or forums etc, but we see constantly on the Internet that the facts never get in the way of a good story.
            I will concede the point when he emulates Sebs achievements!

  6. Lewis had his most difficult times during ROS rivalry, and then Vettel. He is now more relaxed therefore banking wins with less phsychological pressure, I believe partly because he is already 7 WDC and he has nothing to prove. And Merc is pretty sure they can control their dominance despite saying that they are slow. During 2017-2018, at least at the beginning of the season, Ferrari was really quick and merc was concerned, now with Redbull Max is the only factor that is making a difference.

    So, easy 8th WDC for lewis this year again.

    1. Unfortunately that will sum up the season ahead of us, yeah

      1. Davethechicken
        18th May 2021, 19:03

        I think RBR and Max will run them close. The evidence is strong that they have the fastest car so far.
        I expect RBR to be comfortably fastest this weekend.
        Hamiltons skill set is at a different level and for that reason he will prevail over the season.

        1. Sure, the RB is the best package. Actually already for the last 9 years probably? Makes total sense

          1. Davethechicken
            19th May 2021, 14:04

            RBR have had the fastest car over the last 7months and at times over the last 9years especially at Monaco. The merc has been clearly faster at higher speed tracks (aside from when another team allegedly had their petrol, oil, battery “trybrid”
            So I respectfully disagree with what I take was sarcasm.

  7. There’s no denying that this season is shaping up to be something we’ve been waiting a long time for, but that’s a poor take on Hamilton. He’s had team-mates such as Alonso, Button and Rosberg; title fights against Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel, Rosberg and won races every single year of his career.

    There’s no denying that in recent years he’s had the best car, but the cream rises to the top and he can only beat what’s put in front of him.

    I’d love to see some more variety at the top, but I can still appreciate the unique brilliance of Hamilton’s career.

    1. @ben-n 100% this.

    2. @ben-n – Almost all of the names you mentioned were not battles that happened within the last 5 years which is what Brown was talking about. He said he’s had it easy since the Rosberg season in 2016…. Vettel put a bit of pressure on him but nothing compared to what he faced previously. He’s essentially had to beat Bottas for the last 5 years in order to win the title.

      It’s not a criticism of Hamilton. As you say, the cream rises to the top and I don’t think Brown meant it as a criticism in any way. He’s just stating that it’s good to see Hamilton potentially faced with a situation this year where he has to put in the incredible drives that we know he’s capable of in order to win the title rather than cruising around and winning easily.

      1. @petebaldwin – fair enough. I’d definitely agree that Vettel’s pressure wasn’t exactly as heavy as people suggest in 2017/18. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Hamilton starts to edge away from Verstappen this year (either due to reliability, or just leading a few more of their 1-2 finishes) and this year is chalked up as similar to 2017/18.

        1. @ben-n Pressure not heavy? Vettel led the WDC in 2017 from race one and was still leading going into the 13th of 20 races that season. At that 13th race Vettel was on pole with Hamilton only qualifying in P5.

  8. That’s a little condescending towards Vettel.

    Say what you want, Vettel did VERY well in 2017 1st half, and a decently good job in 2018 1st half.

    Both seasons required Hamilton to be at his best (and step up as well).

    2019 and 2020 were easy rides, no doubt

  9. It still looks easy.

    1. Not looking at the mistakes Lewis made this year. Only luck prevented a -11 points gap with Max.

      1. The better he drives the “luckier” he gets. Go figure.
        At some point you can no longer put his success down to “luck”

  10. Disrespectful to Vettel. Some people seem to forget 2017 and 2018 pretty easily to fit their narrative.

    1. @john-h I’m sure Zak Brown is considering the whole seasons, and the reason he would be ignoring 2017 and 2018 in his quotes is that LH ended up winning, as did Mercedes, by healthy margins. It is not like those Championships came down to the wire, no matter how much folks like to choose their wording around those seasons to fit their own narrative. LH was getting poles and winning in the first halves of those seasons too, not just SV. In 2018, in the first nine races, SV, LH, and RBR (2 for DR, 1 for Max) each won three races.

      As I see it, as competitive as Ferrari was at times in those two seasons, so too was Mercedes and LH competitive. Just because they weren’t out and out dominating in those first halves of 17 and 18 didn’t mean they wouldn’t have had full confidence in their package and their potential to fight for the Championships.

      I would bet money that some of the posters around here who like to colour 17 and 18 as hard won Championships by LH, against the ‘faster’ Ferrari, in order to pump him up and shade the car and team he had, were saying as each race went by in those seasons things such as ‘just you wait and see.’ But of course LH and TW were taking very opportunity to call Ferrari faster so that they didn’t sound too cocky about their own chances, and so that they would build themselves up to having beat their self-described faster rivals.

      Ferrari were only faster at times, and as a recent article here on this site laid out, it takes more than that. But sure, it fits several posters’ narrative to simply say Ferrari were faster in 2017 and 2018, and leave it at that. The faster car is the one that gets from lights out to checkered flag in the least amount of time of all the cars, and LH/Mercedes did that far more often in 2017 and 2018 than anyone else. And they accumulated healthy points margins with plenty of time to spare as the seasons came to their conclusions, meaning LH had no pressure remotely close to like 2016 when a season comes down to the last race. I’m sure that is what ZB is thinking of when he says what he has said.

      1. @robbie As far as I remember, analyses showed the Ferrari to be faster at just over half the races in 2017, more or less similar in 2018. Sure, it’s retrospective, Vettel/Ferrari collapsed (though as I pointed out, in 2017 they only started imploding around race 14 of 20 when we had the triple-header crash in the wet start at Singapore). But what’s to say the same doesn’t happen this year? Nothing at the moment. I think the difference is that most people view Verstappen as the successor to Hamilton in a series of ‘generational talents’ that reaches back to prime-era Alonso, Schumacher, Senna etc. So with Red Bull faster in some qualifications or races – and we haven’t had a big enough sample yet of tracks, temperatures and tyres to really evaluate their relative speeds – there is a lot of expectation. Also Ferrari are supposed to be at the front, so, maybe, when they are, nobody is that excited about the prospect. But it’s rewriting history to say there wasn’t a title fight in 2017 and 2018. Hamilton and Mercedes won the fights convincingly, that’s all.

        1. @david-br That’s fair comment. I wasn’t suggesting there wasn’t a title fight in those years, but my point was as you confirmed it with your last sentence, that LH/Mercedes won them convincingly, and that would be ZB’s point too when he highlights the competition LH had in 2016 which went down to the wire. And it’s just that as you say Ferrari were faster at just over half the races, but were they? Or were they just faster at certain times on those weekends just as Max has been this year. Define faster. One definition that can’t be argued is that it is the driver/car/team that got from lights out to chequered flag quicker than the others, on Sunday when it counts, all things considered. Driver mistakes, team strategy mistakes, what have you.

          I think it is easy for some to conveniently see SV, or now Max for example faster in one or two practice sessions and then decide based on that that he had the fastest car and then if he doesn’t translate that to a win it was LH that simply took over with his mastery, in a ‘slower’ car, even after getting pole and winning the race, but not that it was actually LH that had the fastest car ultimately.

          And yeah I hear you completely on the expectation thing re Max, and to tie that in to 2017 and 2018, that was what it was for me…in spite of Ferrari showing some promise to compete that year, what I saw was LH equally able to get poles and wins in the first halves of those seasons, and I never expected anything but for he and Merc to sort themselves and take over, and that is exactly what happened. Especially when he was no longer having a teammate take points from him of any significance. After all, all we had been hearing and seeing was how ‘locked in’ Mercedes advantage was in the hybrid era, and as I say, upon seeing that not just SV/Ferrari but LH was also getting poles and wins right from the start of those seasons, I simply expected LH and Mercedes to take those titles.

          1. @robbie

            Or were they just faster at certain times on those weekends just as Max has been this year. Define faster. One definition that can’t be argued is that it is the driver/car/team that got from lights out to chequered flag quicker than the others, on Sunday when it counts, all things considered.

            OK but by that token, Max has regularly beaten Bottas this season. So if you remove LH, Red Bull would seem to have the faster car. My guess is that the cars are fairly equal. Max could have had between 2 and 4 wins this season. Cooler temperatures and tyres have favoured Mercedes the last two races – we’ll see how it unfolds at Monaco, Baku, and later in the season when I’m certain Red Bull will have some really strong tracks. But leaving aside these factors, I think the Bottas-Hamilton difference is also a key to how Hamilton is beating, just, Verstappen in the Red Bull. The last few seasons Hamilton has shifted his attention much more to race setup, maximizing tyres and finding ways to follow cars which even Bottas has said he hadn’t been able to fathom. That makes a huge difference to race performance and results. The way Hamilton came back at Imola, and also tracked down Max in Spain, aren’t just down to the Mercedes being faster – if it all. Bottas was completely unable to replicate those drives.

          2. @david-br Hmmm…I don’t know. I do and I don’t see your points, lol. VB has proven over several seasons now of having the car, to be unable to win the WDC with it. LH is obviously in a different class, and of course so has the car and the team been in the hybrid era, and it helps LH a great deal to now be on his ninth season with them, having spent his whole F1 career powered by Mercedes. Removing LH from the equation is not an option. He (and the car and team) is the very crux of the matter.

            As you say, we need to see more races and perhaps the whole season, but really, is hearing Max say ‘we were just too slow’ in Spain more of a surprise than the dynasty still being in their winning ways? I try not to boil it down to any one thing, but is the Honda pu now actually a match to the Mercedes pu? Is that the consensus out there? Is it the driver that is the key factor to tire wear and treatment, or is the driver a lesser factor and is it actually the designers and builders of the cars that makes the difference? Haas cars can’t get the tires to work at all, we’re told. Would LH or Max be able to get the tires working in a Haas? I’m not saying that to question LH’s or Max’s ability to manage tires, but legit pondering how much it is about the car and how well it has been built to find balance in setups, and how much downforce etc etc that can all contribute to getting the tricky tires to work.

            I guess I’ll just say for now I wonder if Max and LH are more equal than their cars are, and as you say more races will tell, and as I see it, if LH/Mercedes prevail the storyline will not be what a mountain they had to climb, for they are already the benchmark, but if Max/RBR prevail, that is exactly what the headlines will read. The leap RBR have made (not sure Max is a much better driver than last year) is impressive, and is four races old, and does not a dynasty make. But for sure, obviously, their closeness now to Mercedes is tantalizing, even though the vast majority have predicted another Mercedes year, in spite of their off pre-season.

      2. Completely agree, robbie, mercedes had the edge I would say in 2017, overall the car was a bit faster and more reliable, and in 2018 they probably were even speed and reliability wise, but vettel made too many mistakes towards the end of the season.

        However there’s no reason to say this early that 2021 is gonna be any different than 2017 and 2018: red bull already seems on the back foot, which didn’t happen in 2017 and 2018, so who knows, there’s nothing that says the title won’t end with 3 races to go again.

        1. and in 2018 they probably were even speed and reliability wise

          Not quite true–Hamilton had noticeably poorer reliability than Vet in 2018-but yes, speed wise, no much between the two cars.

      3. LOL!!

        Funniest best spin post on how ‘easy’ Hamilton’s 2017/18 Championships were ever

  11. I don’t see people saying Schumacher had it easy when he enjoyed superiority with illegal suspensions with Benetton in 1994 and total number one position at Ferrari

    1. That’s because the car wasn’t superior, ask verstappen and his other team mates in 1994 and 1995.

      1. @esploratore By that logic, the Red Bull in 2011 and 2013 was worse than the McLaren and Mercedes respectively. Or the Mercedes was the 3rd quickest car in 2018.

      2. worst argument ever.

      3. @esploratore If I recall correctly, both Senna and Newey thought that it was only Schumacher’s car that was illegal.

        1. Why would Benetton give this ‘illegal’ car only to Schumacher. Because they couldn’t care less about money?

          When you look at the actual gaps between Schumacher and his teammates, he was about as far ahead of Verstappen as he was to Patrese and Herbert in those Benettons. Herbert was about as far away from Barrichello in the Stewart as Verstappen was and Irvine and Barrichello, who were pretty evenly matched in the Jordan, were about as far away from Schumacher as each other (although Barrichello had a better car mostly) and were a little less far away from Schumachers pace then Herbert/Verstappen.

          So it doesn’t make sense. Unless Verstappen was actually faster then Barrichello but somehow lost that magic between 94 and 98, he had the same car as Schumacher. Benetton was off course focused on Schumacher and it was not an easy car to drive, as both Alesi and Berger noticed when they tested the 95 car at the end of the season.

          1. I’m not a Schumacher fan but his key skill was his ability to drive at the limit for so long without mistakes. He simply brought a new level of race pace to the table.

          2. I am not familiar with the era, nor am I am trying to reach a certain conclusion. I am simply stating what I remember from Newey’s book. But Flavio at the helm of Benetton also raises suspicion.

    2. I’ll say it. Schumacher best opponent was Hakkinen. Go figure why he wrapped up 7 titles. Just as ridiculous as Lewis’ number. Both are stellar drivers and amongst the best ever. But these numbers vs Prost and Senna are just technology caused, not driver skilled.

      1. Davethechicken
        19th May 2021, 14:34

        I think if you were to look back to 1988 and 1989 that Senna and Prost had a car that would lap the third place driver. Even after the infamous suzuka 89 crash Senna was stopped off the track, stalled, had a hand wavings with Prost, got going again after a push start by the marshalls , completed a whole lap with a broken front wing, pitted, replaced front wing and was still able to retake the lead 2 laps later.
        Now that is a dominant car.

  12. I think zak is wrong. As a rookie he was up against the then double world champion. His second year mclaren were fighting equally strong ferrari. He still shpwed his metal during the redbull vettel dominate years by being the only non redbull driver to steal a pole from them in 1 of those years. He has always been competitive. He has not suddenly become a greater racer just because he ia raving against verstappen. If anything its verstappen who has to prove his metal against a tried and true champion several times over. So far verstappen has accomplished nothing.

    1. Mercedes was clearly superior the last 2 races, you can’t win that, apart from that they’re 1-1, let’s say verstappen lost the first race, which he could’ve won, apart from that there’s nothing that would’ve made him get more wins.

    2. Perez is a decent and proven racer, and he is showing the real pace the Red Bull has this season. That is behind the Mercs, and sometimes behind McLaren as well. Perez is in no position to challenge even Bottas. Max is overdriving the Red Bull, and therefore can sometimes beat the Mercs. That Red Bull should not be up there if Max would not be driving it. Its a much easier drive for Lewis and Bottas to get to the podium. It has been for years and its not good for the sport.

      1. So you don’t believe Perez when he says he is still learning the limits of the RB? You think he has reached his own limits and the limits of the RB in just four races?

  13. People can say what about vettel too. He still won 4 championships. He put the car where it needed to be. So has lewis. So has alonso. Even raikanin. All champions. Verstappen has it all to prove. In all truth once mclaren are kore competitive. Lando and russel are going to give verstappen a run for his money.

    1. It’s such a shame Vettel’s had a few bad seasons because really up until late 2018 he really was a class act. We can all say it was the car but at the end of the day when his career is over he’ll still set very high in some of the all time stats. It’s pretty much nailed on as well that for a while at least his Youngest WDC of all time record is now safe with Verstappen and Leclerc having missed their chance. He also sits third in the all time win list which is a huge achievement even with there being more races per year. I’m hoping we can see some more flashes of Vettel’s brilliance before he retires.

      1. Missed their change of youngest wdc? Please enlighten me on which wdc chance verstappen and leclerc missed, the 2019 ferrari? A joke, experts say there’s no way in hell it could’ve won against mercedes, not even if all went right for them, 2020 red bull, which won 2 races on pace? 2018 red bull was less competitive than ferrari.

        1. Maybe Max not signing for Mercedes when he had the chance?

        2. I am fairly certain he just means they are no longer young enough to be eligible for “youngest WDC”.

        3. He means they’re too old. The same way Hamilton, Vettel, and Schumacher were lucky to get into a wdc capable car in their first couple years is the same way leclerc and Verstappen haven’t had that same luck. Although that’s partially down to the predictability of the hybrid eras races. This happened to Verstappen and leclerc Bc Mercedes didn’t want to get rid of Bottas and they won’t be the youngest anymore even if they managed to win a wdc

        4. @esploratore He means that neither can become “the youngest ever WDC” because they’re now older than the current record.

          1. Thanks for highlighting that is indeed all I meant was they would be too old to claim that honour now. I can’t see that being under threat again for a while. It wasn’t a dig at either Leclerc or Verstappen.

  14. Ah, another Hamilton-article to get the clicks in. What is it this time? Somebody has dared to say Hamilton has had it easy in the most dominant car/team of all time? Shocking.

    Now Brown’s on the no-list and will undoubtedly forever hear it on Twitter for this transgression.

    1. I live for your comments 🤣. Yourself and a few regulars on here wouldn’t miss a chance to let everyone know how much you ‘adore’ Lewis. You never miss.

      1. @lums The only sure thing is Hamilton fans attacking people who dare say anything less than flattering about Hamilton, like this article and like you now. It’s at near 100% certain.

        1. @balue.
          Hey, believe whatever you want. All I want is for you to keep delivering pure content lol. You are relentless with the negativity. I love it.

          1. @lums I rest my case. Singular personal attack. You just can’t help yourself. It’s always the same.

        2. Ahhh Balue. Never change. You really cheer up my bad days. Comedy gold. I love you

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      17th May 2021, 18:29

      @balue You’re forgetting that Hamilton joined a new team in 2013 and beat his team mate immediately, Rosberg having been established in the team for 3 seasons and a team mate to Schumacher. Rosberg was extremely fast over one lap as backed up by the people who helped in his junior career and his record against literally the best qualifier of all time over their 4 seasons together. I remember interview quotes from Hamilton complaining that it was extremely hard to keep beating Rosberg as whatever trick he pulled, Rosberg could see it on the data. There was even a team discussion specifically explaining to the drivers they would continue to share data regardless of these complaints and it was a big story in the media.

      Hamilton was tested more than most credit between 2013 and 2016, not least because of internal rivalries and atmospheres which gave him flashbacks to 2007, a year he did not enjoy judging by his autobiography due specifically to that internal rivalry.

      A real analysis of this period reveals these nuances as opposed to just writing Rosberg off as not a rival. He learned how to play games with team-mates from the master, Schumacher and he used that on Lewis and is quite public on this fact. If Hamilton has one weakness it is that if his “home” (i.e. team) is not a happy place to be, his on track performance can suffer.

      No-one in another team can put as much pressure on Hamilton as Rosberg and Alonso previously have done. He’s already survived those tests.

    3. LOL! More comedy gold

    4. Brown’s comments were laughable. Basically he’s airbrushed out of history the 2017/18 seasons when Vettel ran Hamilton close until the last few

      Indeed just before the start of the Singapore race in 2017, no sane Hamilton fan would had said he was the favourite for the title. Seb made and error and it cost him, probably at least net 35 points. Easily the biggest single error since Lewis beached it at China 2007

      But you keep ignoring history – it sure keeps us amused!!

  15. Hamilton still has a fairly easy ride due to the superior car and a very decent wingman.
    You could see it in Spain where Hamilton even without pushing could follow Verstappen nearly in DRS range. Had Hamilton not lost the lead he would have disappeared into the sunset and never to be seen again. Hamilton/Mercedes could just waited how the first round of pitstops would play out and than adjust strategy and no threat from behind.

    Max on the other hand, having taken the lead, had to continuous push hard to compensate for the slower car to keep Hamilton outside DRS. After the 1st pitstop this only became worse as the Mercedes has a greater advantage on the medium than the softs. Once Hamilton pitted there was little Max could do and try to go the distance which he did quite well just no chance against the Mercedes in Hamilton’s hands on fresher medium tyres.

    The only chance Max has to win the championship this year is if temperatures go up and/or Hamilton’s luck finally runs out.

    1. The only chance Max has to win the championship this year is if temperatures go up

      Quite likely given that summer is apparently due in the northern hemisphere.

    2. even without pushing

      Are you sure?

    3. And an easy ride because he knows how to look after his tyres and Max doesn’t; yet.

  16. The best quotes are from Ricciardo and Norris. They pretty much nail it.

    Brown is kinda full of it. Easy is not part of being WDC. And if this is the first challenge then Hamilton is doing just fine.

  17. I liked hamilton vs vettel rivalry more, at least at this time of the stage. It was much more intense. It’s now more or less “Oh we are respectful to each other, he is the best I had bla bla”. If it’s intense you know it’s intense.

    It may be more interesting at later stages but not at 2017 level at the moment.

    1. I think Lando Norris hints at that possibility:

      ike Daniel said Max goes for those opportunities like turn one, it was quite a risky thing. If Lewis turned it into someone they would have crashed. Max was pretty committed with his move. That’s like the opportunities Max needs to take at this stage because they’re a bit slower

      Slower or not, Verstappen missed out of poll by a fraction. Imola, he should have claimed poll but had a poor Q3. So if that pattern continues, we could see this situation quite a bit. Whether because the Mercedes is faster in races and/or because Hamilton works the tyres better, he knows he can still beat Max over a race distance. And his time in Formula 1 has taught that keeping your race alive is more important during the opening lap. At some point, though, Hamilton is going to turn in and let that crash happen.

      1. Jockey Ewing
        17th May 2021, 15:41

        If Hamilton understeers into Max at the start at T1, it still can be deemed to be a racing incident by the stewards, even if Hamilton DNFs, and Max collects a good amount of points or vice versa. Those are just nuances, and incidents are evaluated to be less severe in a dense pack, like around the starts, at the first laps, or in a dense pack at mid race, because sometimes there is no option, nowhere to go for some drivers.

        Imo if RB is a bit behind, and they can’t come up with better strategy, then they should take as much pressure onto the track as they can. For example with always copying Hamilton’s strat with Verstappen, even if pitting on the same lap means allowing the undercut. Would that be so bad? The higher rake and more oversteery car would heat the tyres theoretically quicker, if other variables are fixed.
        (Yet we they not proved it that they have the better strategists – they went all-in with some strats at previous seasons, and sometimes that worked out, doing so not equals having the better strategists – for us to see which team has the better strategists it would take more time).

      2. Jockey Ewing
        17th May 2021, 15:44

        I would never go for a crash with a formula car, it is not touring cars with relatively safe and relative allowed contacts, and Lewis likely has much higher morale as a sportsman than most of us.

        1. I think Hamilton avoids collisions most of the time. However, I remember Verstappen driving ‘riskily,’ as Norris puts it, towards the end of 2017 when Hamilton was focused on battling Vettel still. Hamilton let it go. But in Bahrain at the start of the next season, 2018, Hamilton turned in as Verstappen was making a pass (and squeezing Hamilton out, though Alonso was also on the inside I think), resulting in damage to Verstappen’s car. All the drivers know there’s a limit to how much you can allow the other driver to get away with. It’s why I think the ‘respecting each other’ comments about Hamilton and Verstappen are a bit of fluff really. Obviously at some level they do, but it’s really too early to tell how the season will develop. Verstappen is pushing more right now, Hamilton is so far calculating that it’s better to let him do so and then beat him later in the race. That actually has a bigger psychological impact as Red Bull’s remark that it was ‘Hungary 2019 again’ showed. That’s basically what Lando and Danny Ricciardo are saying.

          1. Verstappen has to push more. he has a much slower car with lots of tire deg.

          2. he has a much slower car

            Much slower?! Bahrain where Max won poll and could have won the race with a better timed pass attempt? When even Perez was nearly on poll at Imola, Max had fastest lap and won the race? Max is beating the Bottas-Mercedes package easily so the difference is clearly Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

    2. Jockey Ewing
      17th May 2021, 15:25

      It is just started, and even if it will become anticlimactic at this season for some reason, it can be better at 2022, because I think it is quite unlikely that Newey’s aero department will make a design blunder when it will be about a much simpler aero package. I think the shrunken differences at the PU side, and the quite decent reliability at all manufacturers, will make a much more even field likely at next year. So probably they will not redeem F1, but apart from the sprint quali races, and DRS, and the probably still half-honest cost cap, the on track action will likely become better.

      Meanwhile, if this season maintains this intensity to it’s end and Mercedes will not have more than 1 PU-related failure at their driver who will go for the title, then they can righfully entitle themselves on of the best ever power unit makers for a very long while (although of course they are very much in contention for that title already). And that would imply that all Mercedes supplied teams are in a very good position until 2025. Meanwhile if Honda manages to achieve something simllar feat on the reliability side (considering that their power output is likely better than previously, so they evolved at 2 dimensions at the same time), that would be a somewhat incredible feat, and probably they knew it before RB started to push for an engine freeze (or at least they knew that they finally can come up with a much better PU-package, and they do not really can or want to invest more).
      On the other hand it looks like, that neither Mercedes, nor Honda has a power output edge, what can make up for multiple breakdowns. But it is very unlikely to have an even battle to the end without one or two breakdown or unpunished driver error at a non-intra-team WDC title battle.

      Imo this season is much better than many percieve, and it will not be over even if Lewis can pull a 30 points gap in the next few races, unless it would come from multiple Honda PU-related failures in a short timespan. Imo Mercedes turned the engine up a bit too, with their formerly percieved reliability they can afford doing so, to partially make up for the initial lagging behind. For example if they increase the output just by 1% per race weekend, untily they experience warning signs, that would not be an unsafe approach. But of course initially they turned it on a bit more, to give a harder time to their opposition, before their mood gets too good.

      To the pictures: haha, Lewis sports a great outfit, as cool as unconventional. <3

  18. Paraphrasing…
    Brown: HAM hasn’t needed to work since 2016
    RIC: HAM and VER are both great drivers
    NOR: How many times do I have to say this? It’s the car, stupid!

    1. @andrewwj Neat. Norris’s remark about Bottas being (effectively) a better number two made me wonder what team I’d most like to see him in, though, to justify that comment about the car, Mercedes or Red Bull? Would he do a better job than either Bottas or Perez (so far)? Could he beat either Hamilton or Verstappen?

      1. Perez is having to change his driving style to adapt to the new car, it’s gonna take a while before he gets up to speed

        1. Well, he’d better hurry then. Marko is getting warmed up again for a driver change

        2. @amam Wot Mayrton sed. I don’t see them swapping him mid-season but a poor half-year and they’ll be looking at the pool of drivers coming available. He needs to bright behind Max on the grid and/or at least in the top 4 to be of any actual use.

      2. @david-br Re the car, NOR appears to consider the Merc a smidge faster. I consider him currently 5th in the “young guns” pecking order, behind VER, LEC, RUS and SAI. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t expect him to do a better job than the experienced PER and BOT, but these two have been so underwhelming that my opinion has shifted. NOR is sharp enough wheel-to-wheel and is a good enough manager of tyres to give either PER or BOT a run for his money in equal machinery. That said, I reckon both VER and HAM would beat him handily if he were in the RB16B or W12 today.

        1. @andrewwj I agree, I imagine Lando would finish closer to VER and HAM without beating either. Russell I rate higher and closer to these two. I’m not sure about Sainz, Norris seem to have the edge against him and is doing really well this season versus Ricciardo (though the latter could well make a comeback). There was a bit of veiled mild criticism in my comment: I think LN sounds like he’s placing too much on the car sometimes, though that’s fairly normal. Most drivers think they’re the best or equal best – given the right car.

  19. Never deny LH was great, but sometime good luck does favor him. If Vettel won Germany 2018, the championship could’ve swing to Vettel; If there’s no Bottas-Russell crash, Verstappen could’ve leading the championship by now!

    1. But then there’s the other side of the coin-like Hamilton’s “bad luck” in having to start P14 on the grid in Germany, or Kimi crashing into him at the start of the British gp etc

    2. Amazing how “lucky” one guy can be.

      1. At what point do you stop calling it “luck” though?

  20. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    17th May 2021, 18:38

    There’s an expression in my world….

    “Train hard, fight easy”

    It might look easy wins for Hamilton over the seasons but you bet the house it was hard work getting them.

  21. Hmm. I disagree. If I remember correctly Vettel was leading the table early on, both in 2017 and 2018 and in a car that wasn’t really better than this year’s RedBull.
    It was over the course of a whole season when their challenge faded away and it is yet to be seen if Verstappen and RedBull can keep it up.
    And it’s far too easy to say that Vettel’s and Ferraris mistakes alone won Hamilton the title.
    It was also because he has the ability to deliver week after week and even on his rare bad days he’s always there or there about.
    Up to this season, Hamilton didn’t get the credit he deserved for his relentlessness by a lot of fans, pundits and obviously Zack Brown too.

  22. Brown is obviously wrong, as both in 2017 and 2018 Hamilton and Mercedes were under plenty of pressure – as can readily be seen by their less than spotless efforts in those years. Ferrari and Vettel were not able to keep up the pressure throughout the season, for a variety of reasons. While the competitiveness of the 2017 is sometimes exaggerated, in early 2018 the Ferrari was a real match for the Mercedes. It wasn’t until Ferrari made a giant development misstep that eventually saw them revert to a three months old version of the car that Mercedes decisively leapt ahead. So while Hamilton and Mercedes were always the favourites, and ended up winning the titles with races to spare, for long parts of the seasons these were not ‘easy rides’.

  23. If its just the car then why is Bottas not finishing 1st or 2nd? Its a combination of car and driver. And why should Lewis be cruising while Verstappen is driving to the max. Why push Lewis down and lift vers up. Its verstappen who is showing weakness. In his race craft. He is trying very much to keep up with Lewis. But Lewis is just better than him. Thats why it looks easier for Lewis than it does for verst. I recall 1 od the first races they showed the onboarss of vers and Lewis and inthe cornera lewis had to fight the car more than vers who just had to to the wheel. That in itself shows the difficulty in driving this years merc. And the talent of lewis.

    1. Honestly on average hamilton’s imola mistake should’ve been more costly than verstappen’s mistakes put together, so disagree with verstappen showing weakness, consider the car isn’t the same either.

    2. If its just the car then why is Bottas not finishing 1st or 2nd?

      Because Valteri Bottas is abismally bad and without a Mezza he would be fighting it out with Nikita Mazepin.
      Any minimally competent driver would have had a guaranteed top 2 position driving a Mezza since 2014 . But VB just isn’t one.

      1. I wouldn’t say he’s so bad, but he has robbed the fans of some nice battles between Mercedes team mates. Which was the only way for the fans to see some real battles for most of the last 7 years.
        He’s been perfect for Mercedes: not a big threat to Lewis, but good enough to take away points of other teams. Lewis is happy, no shenanigans like with Rosberg.

    3. Bottas is 1 or 2. Just recently Max is able to sometimes squeeze in there and then Bottas is 3. How much more obvious can you have it that the Mercs win everything? And then saying Max cant beat Lewis. Ofcourse he cant. Ofcourse he will have more degradation. That is all to keep up and manage to split the Mercs, which I have seen no one do for the last 9 years except maybe Ricciardo on an occasional track that suits the RB, like Monaco. People should be happy Max gets that RB up to a level where he can split the Mercs now and then. Otherwise it would be just Lewis and Bottas all the way. How can that not be obvious? People can read the race pace of both cars, right? So, I wish people would stop whining, enjoy the great Hamiltons 8th and the boredom saved from by Max.

  24. I disagree. Bottas is not as bad as it looks. Its just that Lewis is so much better. Bottas for now is over driving his car burning up his rears. Lewis had made a miatake yes. But that is also debatable because russel should have moved off the racing line he was being lapped. But instead Lewis had to go off the raving line amd misjudged just how wet the offline was. That was 1 mistake to verstappens many. Whether we see them as major or minor is subjective. Its Lewis who has capitalized over the 1st 4 races. Yes luck has played a role. But its tbe same for every1. He maximized what he had on thee race days. Verstappen dis not.

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