Lewis Hamilton leads the Formulation One world championship after three races and Mercedes group mate Valtteri Bottas already seems to be like the one man who can deny the Briton a record-equalling seventh title. That no less than is the view of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, whose personal hopes of constructing on final 12 months’s problem have melted away.
Hamilton dominated Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix from pole place, with a bonus level for quickest lap, to take a 5 level lead over Bottas, the winner of the Austrian season-opener.
Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen is third general, 30 factors off the lead.
Requested whether or not they might see a state of affairs the place Hamilton won’t be champion on the finish of the 12 months, Vettel and Leclerc agreed it was unlikely.
“I feel (solely) if Valtteri wins the championship,” stated the German, himself a four-times world champion.
“I feel Lewis is clearly the principle contender,” added Leclerc. “The one one that would in all probability cease him doing that’s Valtteri.”
Mercedes, winners of the previous six drivers’ and constructors’ championships, have began 2020 with three wins and three poles and are 66 factors away from closest rivals Pink Bull.
Hamilton, fourth within the opener on the Pink Bull Ring, has gained two in a row and the subsequent races are at his house Silverstone circuit.
Bottas has a win, a second place and a 3rd — in that order — and blew Sunday’s race initially. The Finn began stronger final season and nonetheless ended up far behind his group mate by the tip.
The one others on the rostrum have been Leclerc, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Verstappen — the primary two each failing to attain on Sunday.
Mercedes have responded with combating speak to those that recommend the championship is already sewn up, with group boss Toto Wolff and technical head James Allison warning towards complacency.
“I’m unsure I’m seeing the competitors crumble,” commented Wolff on Sunday evening. “We are able to see that Pink Bull was struggling all via the weekend after which they’d a reasonably respectable race automotive.
“It’s 30 factors after three races that we’ve got with Lewis to Max. When you have one DNF (non-finish) the hole is gone.”
The proof suggests Mercedes are on one other degree, nevertheless.
Hamilton lapped all however three vehicles behind him earlier than his last pitstop in Hungary and was nonetheless almost a minute away from fourth-placed Lance Stroll in a Racing Level that’s principally a duplicate of final 12 months’s Mercedes.
Whereas the Briton noticed no hazard of the championship turning into a procession, he stated he would really like extra of a combat.
“I feel the Pink Bulls have been doing an excellent job and I’m positive at some stage they’re going to make some enhancements as we get into the season,” he stated.
“I’m hopeful we are going to nonetheless discover some challenges up forward.”