F1: Hamilton to ignore speculation over future
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Lewis Hamilton has been tipped to beat Valtteri Bottas and become an eight-time F1 world champion in 2021. Ralf Schumacher believes the Brit will add to his accomplishments because his team-mate cannot compete over an entire season.
Hamilton destroyed the rest of the field last season in sauntering to another championship.
It means the 36-year-old now has seven world titles – the same number as the legendary Michael Schumacher.
Bottas is determined to become a world champion himself but is up against it, according to Ralf.
“There are races where Valtteri will compete against you,” Schumacher told F1-Insider.
“But over a whole season he has no chance. He is not stable enough for that.
“He will make more mistakes as the season goes on – like last year when he messed up a few starts towards the end of the year.
“Nico Rosberg did prove in 2016 that you can beat Lewis in title contention.
“But Lewis has learned from that. That’s why it won’t happen again that a supposedly weaker one wins.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes believe Red Bull have the fastest car going into the opening race of the season.
“There are a lot of unknowns,” Mercedes strategy director James Vowles said.
“No-one up and down the paddock can pinpoint exactly where they are.
“But there are a few trends that have come out. I’d say Red Bull are ahead on performance. They are the class act.”
Vowles added: “Red Bull are a fierce adversary, they’ve got a strong package and clearly came out of the box very, very quick.
“The result of that is across the season and across different types of track layouts, I am sure you will see us move forwards and backwards relative to them, but I don’t believe we are going into this particularly finding all the performance that is missing or being ahead of them.
“The car was handling poorly and conversely the Red Bull in fact looked what we would call planted, but it was a very stable car especially through the last sector of the lap.
“It was visible to the outside and I would say the lap times mirrored that as well.”
F1 gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.
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