VERSTAPPEN – LEWIS IS ONE OF THE BEST, A GOOD EXAMPLE IS TURKEY AND STYRIAN POLE LAP
Is this any surprise? Absolutely not. Lewis Hamilton was firm favourite for the 2020 title but the manner in which he equalled Michael Schumacher’s title record and beat the win tally was astonishing.
Among the highlights were his Styrian pole lap in torrential rain, winning on three wheels at Silverstone, crushing his rivals in Belgium and of course the title-clinching drive from sixth at the grip-less Istanbul Park. He made the sublime look simple.
Off-track he underlined his champion credentials with his push for equality, adding repeated actions to words, and remaining steadfastly defiant in the face of some criticism. He was the best driver, with the best car at the best team – and categorically pulverised the opposition.
Lewis Hamilton reached new heights in 2020, a year in which he cemented himself as statistically the most successful driver in F1 history alongside campaigning for equality and an anti-racism push.
On paper, 11 wins and 10 pole positions from the 16 races he contested would suggest that Hamilton had by far the best car on the grid as he blew away the competition to secure the title with three races to spare to match Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of seven world championships, but he still demolished teammate Valtteri Bottas.
It was a season in which he also set a new record for most wins of all time, eclipsing Schumacher’s tally in Portugal.
The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen has existed for as long as the Dutchman has competed for the Red Bull team in Formula 1. However, while Verstappen was first waved away by Hamilton, the British driver can no longer ignore the growing threat posed by Verstappen.
This has changed the relationship between the two drivers, says Verstappen in an interview with Olav Mol and Jack Plooij at Ziggo Sport.
Verstappen says, about the growing respect between him and Hamilton: “That’s there anyway, and of course it will grow over the years. It’s also quite normal when seventeen- eighteen-year-old enters the sport that it takes a while, but now it’s actually quite normal. He is very nice.”
“Everyone has their own life outside Formula 1, but when we sit there we can make jokes laugh. …. We get along very well with each other.”
Verstappen also makes a compliment to his rival. “Lewis is certainly one of the best drivers ever. … Many drivers can win in that car, but that doesn’t take anything away from Lewis,” says Verstappen.
The Dutchman explains Hamilton’s racing skills using an example: “A good example is Turkey, where of course it was very difficult and where Lewis eventually won the race by just staying on the track and not making any mistakes. If you see where Valtteri ended up, with the same car, you can, of course, see the difference between a top driver and a good driver.”
Bottas often ran Hamilton close in qualifying but Hamilton was simply in a different league on race day, turning his Saturday deficit into victory at the Nurburgring and Imola with his superior race-craft and abilities in wheel-to-wheel combat coming to the fore.
Notable highlights came in qualifying for both the Styrian and Belgian GP rounds, as well his methodical approach which resulted in a title-sealing wet weather masterclass in Turkey on a day in history when his Mercedes was not the fastest car on track.
Rare errors at Monza and Sochi acted as minor blotches on what was an otherwise flawless campaign as Hamilton asserted his supremacy at the top. Worryingly for his rivals, neither his speed nor motivation is showing any signs of dropping.
VERSTAPPEN – LEWIS IS ONE OF THE BEST, A GOOD EXAMPLE IS TURKEY VERSTAPPEN – LEWIS IS ONE OF THE BEST, A GOOD EXAMPLE IS TURKEY
WOLFF HAS COMMITTED TO MERCEDES “FOR LIFE”
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