Hamilton expects “smooth sailing” for Verstappen with “massive” points lead

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton empathised with Charles Leclerc’s woes as Max Verstappen’s title lead extended at the French Grand Prix

In brief

“Massive gaps” are now making Verstappen title “smooth sailing” – Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton said that Ferrari’s woes at the French Grand Prix had handed Max Verstappen an “obviously pretty huge” title lead.

“I’m gutted for Charles, who’s been doing a great job, as has Carlos,” said Hamilton following Leclerc’s crash during yesterday’s race. “It’s not easy though, having that pace and that performance and maintaining it.

“It’s a tough job and I feel for the whole team because I know what that can feel like. But they’re a great team, and they’ll continue to keep their heads down.”

Verstappen now leads Leclerc by 63 points in the championship. Hamilton said it was a “massive gap” at this stage in the season. “So that’s pretty smooth sailing in that space, generally.

“But a lot still can go wrong up ahead so I would just advise them just to continue to push.”

Norris says he cannot use water bottles during races

Lando Norris said that he cannot use a drinks bottle during hot races or he would be sick.

“I still don’t use a water bottle inside,” said Norris after the French Grand Prix, which was run in punishingly high temperatures. “[It] makes me feel too sick, so I can’t use it.

“I just can’t do too many fluids when I drive otherwise I’d just barf it back up.”

Although Norris said this has never actually happened to him, “I just know it will, so that’s why I avoid it.”

Chadwick considering Indy Lights move

Jamie Chadwick, who has a 70-point lead in the W Series championship, says she was considering a move to Indy Lights if she could not secure a Formula 3 or Formula 2 drive for 2023.

“My goal is always to keep progressing,” Chadwick said. “I really want the step up. I know I need to perform still this year but I’ve still got one eye one eye on the future as well.

“Any feeder series is the goal, so Formula 3, Formula 2 but also I’m actually looking at America opportunities and potentially Indy Lights as well. So I’m just exploring all options.

“I think we’ve got a nice big break after Budapest so there’d be some time to really understand what we’re capable of and what the best opportunity is.”

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Comment of the day

After another dismal Sunday for the Scuderia, Sjaakfoo offers an honest assessment of why Ferrari is not more competitive with Red Bulll:

Consistency is key and Max has it, while Ferrari does not. That gap might not be what it could have been, but I honestly couldn’t agree that Max and Red Bull haven’t earned it by simply being the better combination.

If it’s not Ferrari strategy messing up, it’s Ferrari engineering, and if it’s neither of those two, it’s their drivers getting it wrong under pressure. It really is quite a team effort.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Lookingspiffy and Rdiulv!

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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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42 comments on “Hamilton expects “smooth sailing” for Verstappen with “massive” points lead”

  1. Now we see “the fastest car always wins” narrative lose its point. Easiest example: Your pit crew screws up and gives you a 30 second stop. Good luck on recovering from that. This season is looking more embarrassing than 2018. At least Vettel was not error prone until 2019. But everyone at Ferrari has had at least a part to play this season. Sainz and Leclerc could have been closer to Verstappen in the standings. That’s the reason why Ferrari has only won 2 championships drivers and constructors combined, during the last 15 years, while Red Bull have 9, and Mercedes 15.

    1. Michael Masi
      25th July 2022, 0:47

      Redbull 8. Mercedes 16.

    2. Broccoliface
      25th July 2022, 1:30

      Not all “fastest cars” are equal though. In some of those championship years you could take a 30 second stop on each car and still come back with a 1-2 every time.

    3. @krichelle

      At least Vettel was not error-prone until 2019.

      He wasn’t error-prone in 2018? So Baku, where he locked up trying to overtake for the lead, France, where he carelessly crashed into the back of Bottas, Hockenheim, where he crashed out from the lead, Italy, where he hit Hamilton and spun, Suzuka, where he hit Max and spun, and Austin, where he hit Ricciardo and spun do not constitute errors? That season was far worse than what Leclerc has done this season.

      1. Absolutely agree that saying vettel wasn’t error prone until 2019 is very questionable!

        1. Steveetienne
          25th July 2022, 10:27

          He has always been error prone.

      2. Also I was personally shocked by this mistake by leclerc cause normally he doesn’t make mistakes under pressure and he didn’t for all the time verstappen was chasing him, and from red bull’s team radios it felt like they weren’t gonna jump him easily in the pits.

      3. Mhmm you’re right about Vettel. But this season appears to be more shocking and embarrassing than 2018. Maybe because this season Ferrari have had a clear shot at winning more races than 2018.

    4. Think if Max didn’t had his fuel problems how far he would ahead….Max came back from 48 behind to 63 ahead that says enough it still can change.

  2. Lando interviews have been top notch all weekend. He’s really telling it like it is.

    1. Agree, he is honest with himself, gives a really solid evaluation of where they are pace wise and has some interesting stuff mixed in there like the drinks thing.

  3. I think what happening in the current title race is reminding people that Ferrari had a great car 2017 and 2018 but messed up

    1. On average, in performance, the ferrari 2017 wasn’t at merc level; 2018 was and so far it looks like this year is too.

    2. Honestly.. Ferrari are not a championship winning team. Maybe they’ve been losing for so long that they’ve forgotten how to win. They’re just an amateurish team that managed to make a great car this season.

      Red Bull and Mercedes just maximise every opportunity and make the most of what they have. That’s what puts them in the GOAT category as racing teams.. Ferrari are has beens. Since 2008, they’ve been a midfield team at best.

  4. I feel like Lando Norris is just a law unto himself… Really wonder how he would go in the Mercedes alongside Russell.

    1. Tristan, Norris does seem to be outclassing Ricciardo this season, and with all the talk of contracts etc, I was wondering today if Daniel has lost his edge, or is it because Lando is driving out of his skin and getting better results than the car deserves. While I was thinking about that, I had to check the race results to see if Bottas had been driving today. I cannot remember him being mentioned at all in the race.

  5. Plain sailing? Well, it would be foolish to bet against Max at this stage. Yes, the Red Bulls could have a reliability nightmare, but even if they did, are Ferrari capable of capitalising on it? I think the only way now that Max is going to lose out on this year’s title is if Mercedes find some big performance improvements almost immediately, not because I think a Mercedes driver could win it, but because it not only needs a string of wins from LeClerc, it also needs other drivers to be regularly taking points off Max.

    1. If Mercedes is sudenly winning that means Charles isn’t going to get enough point to pass Max. Charles needs those wins otherwise it’s over.

      1. Yes, Mercedes winning makes it even harder for Charles to close the gap on Max. What I’m saying is that Charles needs both the wins and more drivers taking seconds and thirds to keep Max’s points tally down. There’s 10 races left, I think, and Charles is 63 points behind, so if Charles won the next nine races, and Max finished second, (ignoring the fastest lap points), that would see them going into the final race neck and neck, and then the championship could well come down to the timing of a safety car or something.

      2. @macleod

        If Mercedes gets its act together.. Charles would probably finish P5 in WDC race, followed by Sainz in P6. They would probably still have the most poles though.

    2. Also if something like silverstone 1999 happens obviously.

      1. Was that when Schuey went into the barriers and was out for most of the season?

  6. How different is Lewis when he talks about racing and nothing else. Lots of wisdom and common sense. Ferrari, in the other hand, wasting potential every single moment. I really miss Schumacher years at Ferrari, those years make today look surreal. Binotto’s silence is unbearable to hear.

    1. Imagine if Hamilton would’ve moved to Ferrari this year. He would be close to Verstappen if not leading the championship *.

      This does not mean that only Leclerc’s driving failures caused the gap to Verstappen. But Hamilton seems better than Leclerc at questioning team strategy (and questioning Ferrari’s strategy is almost always a good thing), and I assume Hamilton would be a clear number 1 which is the other mistake Ferrari has been making.

      1. Would’ve been interesting to see hamilton at ferrari, but I presume they’d have had the same bad strategies with him too, and hamilton already questions some merc calls!

  7. “I’m gutted for Charles, who’s been doing a great job…”

    I’m gutted for Charles too, but if yesterday’s crash really was his mistake he hasn’t really been doing a great job.

  8. By the way: why is it round up-worthy that Lewis gets a popsicle that reminds him of his childhood?

    1. More interesting than a Russian official misrepresenting the Olympic Charter.

      1. Absolutely. But who’s gonna tell the Russian official he’s less interesting than a popsicle?

        1. I volunteer

  9. Indeed & effectively, the only way such a big gap could get entirely reduced within ten races & one Sprint would be considerable points losses through DNFs & or other ways. On a related note, COTD is also spot-on.

  10. It was disappointing to see Charles’ crash yesterday. As COTD says, if it’s not one aspect of the Ferrari operation going wrong, it’s another. They probably overall have the best car but it’s not reliable.

    I was really hoping they could challenge for the title this year but I think that gap is just too big now. I think this race result might be the critical point.

    Checo and Carlos are nearer in the points to Charles now than Charles is to Max. And Merc are closer to catching Ferrari than Ferrari are to Red Bull. It would need some turnaround.

  11. Don’t feel so sorry for Charles as Lewis is. He made a driver error. It would be nice if Sir Hamilton could complement Max for yet another faultless drive, as he is doing all season. Max is extremely constant and error free, that makes him the real champion.

    1. I disagree max has made mistakes albeit minor. During this season. Altho they have not cost him a race by a dnf. He has not driven perfectly every race and every qualy. Leclerc did a vettel atleast vettel when he crashed out from the lead it was changing wet conditions.

      1. Yes, it’s disappointing because leclerc just felt better than vettel 2018 in every way, I would’ve never expected such a mistake from him, and indeed when they showed him I thought about perhaps a car problem that caused it.

  12. As they say… To finish first, first you have to finish😏

  13. I hadn’t noticed this before but George being so much taller than Lewis makes the podium picture look reversed!

    1. Now you’ve pointed it out, I can’t stop seeing it. I think Hamilton is one of the shorter drivers on the grid, and Russell one of the tallest. Modern F1 cars seem a bit more accommodating of height. I think it was Kubica who struggled when he first got into F1 because he was too tall for the car.

    2. There is no such thing as smooth sailing in a technical sport where a lot of the fights are taking place off the track

      1. He did say pretty much what you did in the next breath.

  14. Chris Horton
    25th July 2022, 12:15

    Jamie absolutely should not go to Indy Lights in my opinion.

    She’s far too valuable to European Motorsport for that. For god’s sake someone step up and give her an F2 or at the very least an F3 drive.

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