Hamilton has "moved into overdrive" in F1 title battle - Brundle

Lewis Hamilton has "moved into overdrive" in the latter part of the 2021 Formula 1 season as his title battle with Max Verstappen intensifies, according to ex-F1 racer Martin Brundle.

Hamilton has "moved into overdrive" in F1 title battle - Brundle

Mercedes driver Hamilton took victory in the Russian Grand Prix at the end of September, but then went without a win in the next three events as championship rival Verstappen increased his lead in the standings to 19 points.

But, after fitting a new engine in the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton took a superb win despite starting from 10th on the grid after a penalty.

The seven-time champion then went on to dominate the following race in Qatar to reduce the gap to Verstappen to just eight points ahead of the final two races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Brundle reckons that moving up a gear in the second half of the season has always been a Hamilton trait, and that both he and his team have repeated the trick again this year.

"It's almost like he's moved into overdrive," the Sky F1 pundit told selected media including Autosport.

"He used to do that after the summer break, and people just didn't see which way he went when he took his Mercedes titles.

"And I think he's done the same again, probably a little bit later in the day, and Mercedes have done the same thing as Lewis has done. All of a sudden, you wonder if he's not now the favourite for the championship with this kind of momentum.

"But it only needs some kind of trip-up, reliability, contact, puncture, whatever, and Max can take the title next weekend. Probably won't, but could.

"It's that finely balanced. And I think the ebb and flow of the season is what Red Bull will be very much hoping for."

Hamilton won easily in Qatar to trim Verstappen's points lead

Hamilton won easily in Qatar to trim Verstappen's points lead

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Hamilton raced with an older engine in Qatar, but will have the more powerful unit he used in Brazil at his disposal again in this weekend's inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Despite that, 158-race F1 veteran Brundle doesn't think the British driver will be able to dominate the way he did in Qatar.

"No, I don't," the 62-year-old said when asked if he expected Hamilton to replicate his crushing Qatar win in Jeddah.

"Because I think they used that [Brazil] engine hard, you know, and Mercedes have had a what they call deg, degradation of their motors.

"Red Bull seemed to have a rear wing that works incredibly well at some tracks and not others and that they seem a little bit two-dimensional in that respect.

"I know there's eight points in it, and the points mean everything. But who would you put your money on?

"I mean, it is literally the one incident can change it, but I don't think they'll be as dominant as Brazil, but I still think there'll be the car to beat in Saudi Arabia."

The season finale in Abu Dhabi, which Verstappen won last year, will take place on a revised layout as a result of changes aimed at improving opportunities for overtaking. Brundle reckons the tweaks will benefit the characteristics of Hamilton's car.

Abu Dhabi track has undergone significant revisions

Abu Dhabi track has undergone significant revisions

Photo by: Motorsport Images

 

"That's changed dramatically," he said of Abu Dhabi.

"Red Bull dominated there last year, but you have to remember that Lewis was still recovering from COVID and was not on top form at all. And Max had the run of the place.

"The track's changed a lot, it's much faster, it's about 11 seconds a lap faster.

"When it comes to high speed, high or higher speed circuits, the Mercedes looks to have the upper hand.

"So these next two circuits I'm sure Mercedes is feeling pretty confident there."

Watch the Saudi Arabian GP live, only on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday 5th December.

shares
comments

Related video

F1 2022 cars to be on edge like F2, says Norris
Previous article

F1 2022 cars to be on edge like F2, says Norris

Next article

Why do Formula 1 cars spark? F1's sparking cars explained

Why do Formula 1 cars spark? F1's sparking cars explained
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022