F1 legend Mika Hakkinen has questioned whether Lewis Hamilton is up for the fight against Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas as the 2020 F1 season gets up and running. Hamilton has been the man to beat in Formula One over the past few years having won three consecutive world championships.
Bottas has struggled to truly rival his Mercedes team-mate in that time, finishing 87 points behind the Briton last season.
Hamilton needs just one championship to draw level with Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven world titles and he is the favourite once again heading into the Austrian Grand Prix.
Drivers have been spending the past few weeks getting back up to full speed in testing to best prepare themselves.
For Bottas, there has been ongoing speculation that Mercedes may look to replace him next year if he’s unable to compete with Hamilton’s pace.
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But Hakkinen is confident his compatriot is best prepared to get off to a flying start next week.
And the two-time world champion has warned Hamilton that he won’t have an easy ride this time around.
“I think it’s going to be a really, really good season. And the guy who is going to win the Championship this year, will have high, high respect,” he told Laureus.com.
“Valtteri is definitely in a super condition, he’s prepared himself to a very high physical and psychological level to start the season.
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“He showed great performances in testing a few months ago, so he’s in very good shape and I’m confident that he will be showing incredible results.
“Lewis will continue his great driving for sure. But when Valtteri has raised his goal higher and he’s better than ever, has Lewis done the same, because you need to improve all the time?
“You need to constantly be better. And it’s very tiring for the mind, very tiring physically, and it requires a lot of discipline. So Valtteri is ready, is Lewis ready?
“I certainly believe that Max Verstappen, for sure, with the Red Bull flat out, is going to go for it. Max normally will attack. He will take lots of risks.
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“So the drivers who are out there, having such a long break from driving, are they ready to react to all the moves that Max is going to do?”
He added: “If there’s going to be 15 races, it will be tough but the best will win.
“When I was racing and conditions suddenly changed, you need to add up these things very quickly.
“And the drivers who can do that, very fast, will be the winners. It’s going to be a good one.”
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