Martin Brundle identifies key advantage Lewis Hamilton has over Max Verstappen in F1 title fight

The Independent
The Independent

The Formula One title might not just be dictated by the two in the running to claim victory overall, but by their team-mates, Martin Brundle says.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are fighting it out for supremacy at the top of the standings, the Dutchman leading by eight points with two races to go in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

But how well their partners perform - and directly manage to hold off the No1 racers - is going to have a telling impact, according to Brundle, who backs Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas to fare better than Red Bull’s Sergio Perez .

“I honestly think it’s possible Valtteri could finish in front of Max more than Sergio could finish in front of Lewis,” Brundle said .

“So I think that might just play into the title. One of these last two races, it’s just possible Valtteri will take some points of Max somewhere.

“And I don’t see Sergio taking points off Lewis.”

Hamilton has closed the gap thanks to back-to-back wins in Brazil and Qatar and victory in the last two would leave him top of the pile for an eighth championship. But there’s also a battle ongoing between the two teams for the constructor title, with Mercedes edging that race entirely.

Again, the factor of how Bottas and Perez perform will be pivotal to the outcome of that title fight, says Brundle - and although he feels Bottas could be key for Hamilton ultimately triumphing, it’s the Dutch driver for Red Bull who he thinks has been the top performer all season long.

“There are 88 points on the table still for the constructors - so another one that could go either way. It just depends on I don’t know, if the Mercedes really flies and Valtteri has one of his on days like in Istanbul, for example, or the sprint race in Brazil.

“It kind of feels like, season-long, Max has had the best season so far, if you look at the numbers.

“I think either of them deserve it, but it just feels as if it’s been Max’s to lose, through bad luck or bad judgment or whatever. That’s how the season feels to me.”

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