Lewis Hamilton has now won back-to-back races, the latest being the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix 2021, with former Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill claiming the Mercedes ace likes to be the hunter.
Hill speaking on the F1 Nation podcast with Natalie Pinkham and Tom Clarkson, was discussing the Qatar GP, where Hamilton claimed a dominant victory, with title rival Max Verstappen in a futile chase for second place. This is the Briton’s second consecutive victory, as he heads to the Saudi Arabian GP eight points behind the Dutchman.
Clock turning on Hamilton the hunter
The 1996 F1 world champion believes Hamilton relishes the prospect of beating Verstappen in the title race.
“Lewis likes to be the hunter, doesn’t he?” ” he said. “So he’s happy where he is, hunting.”
“But now he has few opportunities to make up the deficit,” the 61-year-old warned, and continued: “We now have a statistical situation where he could lose the championship to Max.
“Max could win it in the next round in Saudi Arabia, if some permutations take place,” he admitted.
And that’s mathematically true, because one of the scenarios for Verstappen to clinch the title in Jeddah would be if Hamilton finished sixth or lower, with the Red Bull driver winning and taking the fastest point on the lap.
“When was the last time he came in sixth?” Hill questioned.
“The performance advantage was definitely there for Mercedes,” he explained. “You have this new engine, don’t forget. Toto said they were going to put the “spicy engine” in it! “
Hill, who won his only F1 championship with Williams, hailed an exciting season with the outcome of the championship being guessing.
“This is the first time that we meet until the last two races,” he said. “This is the first time that we can say: ‘If something happens to one of the protagonists, the other will be world champion.’ “
But then he stepped back to say, “Well no actually – it could only have been Max.” [in the next race], it can’t be Lewis because he has the deficit.
Too early to rejoice
Despite Hamilton’s impressive form, Hill, now a Sky F1 expert, noticed a certain calm in the defending champion’s demeanor.
“Hamilton won it, but he wasn’t jumping up and down,” he revealed. “It was pretty cool to keep his emotions in check, just like Max Verstappen.
“I don’t think it’s happy hour yet, the tension is still too intense,” Hill continued. “It’s too palpable, and they’re so close to the finish now.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” he concluded.