F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Juan Pablo Montoya believes Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes face an almost impossible task to beat Red Bull and Max Verstappen this season, even if they arrive at Silverstone with upgrades.
Verstappen now holds a comfortable 32-point lead over Hamilton heading into the British Grand Prix, with Red Bull leading the way in the Constructors’ Championship by 44 points after 10 rounds.
The Briton is without a win since round four in Spain, with Red Bull dominating the past five races, and Verstappen hoping to make it four wins in a row to extend his lead even further.
Over the past three races, Red Bull have introduced many upgrades, including a new front wing, a new floor, a new rear wing, and a new power unit, all while Mercedes have brought nothing new to the races. It has left Hamilton demanding the seven-time world champions make improvements if they’re to continue in the fight for the win.
“In my view, it will be very difficult for Mercedes,” Montoya told Motorsport.com.
“At this stage, Max and Red Bull have clearly gained momentum. Max is doing great, he’s there week in week out. I don’t really see how they are going to beat him.
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“The only aspect that still speaks in favour of Mercedes is that they will get upgrades at Silverstone. Hopefully, that step is big enough to get closer to Red Bull, but I honestly don’t think it will be enough. I don’t see how they can turn this around.”
Mercedes have already said their focus is now on developing their car for 2022, and that they would only be bringing a handful of upgrades to the W12 over the season.
Team principal Toto Wolff confirmed during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend that the team would be bringing just one more package in time for the British GP at Silverstone next time out on July 18.
Hamilton is looking to beat Michael Schumacher’s record and become an eight-time world champion, the most any driver has ever won in the history of F1.
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But as Mercedes fall further back race by race, Montoya believes the champagne may have to be put on ice for Hamilton this season.
“It’s much easier to be completely in control when you have the fastest car and everything is falling your way,” said Montoya.
“Then it’s easier to keep a cool head, to execute flawlessly, in fact everything becomes easier.
“I don’t think it’s about Hamilton being under pressure. Lewis is still a great driver in my view but Red Bull just have the faster car. Especially in the hands of Max, that Red Bull is on a different level.
“If you look at how things are going now, unless something special happens, you would assume Max should win this championship.”
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