Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Two-time Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen has suggested that Lewis Hamilton may be the favourite to win this month’s British Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The Mercedes man currently finds himself 32 points adrift of his Dutch counterpart in the Drivers’ Championship standings after struggling to keep up over the course of the last five Grands Prix.
Verstappen has taken the chequered flag on five occasions this season and will be hoping to pip Hamilton to a sixth victory at Silverstone.
The 23-year-old won both races of the recent double-header at Spielberg after crossing the line first at the French Grand Prix last month.
He was also victorious at Imola and in Monaco, while Hamilton is yet to stand on the top step of the podium since his last win in Spain back in May.
Mercedes have looked short of Red Bull in terms of outright performance since pre-season testing and the Austrian outfit have retained their advantage throughout the campaign to put themselves in pole position for this year’s championship double.
However, Hakkinen believes that the Silver Arrows will come back stronger in Britain and trouble Verstappen as they look to chip away at their growing points deficit.
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The Finn told Unibet that the Mercedes challenger has the potential to thrive on the long straights and high-speed corners of Silverstone, while Hamilton could reap the rewards of driving in front of a 140,000-strong home crowd.
“Their car will be a bit better suited to the circuit if all goes well and in addition, Lewis will be keen for his own fans,” said Hakkinen.
“Max is in form though, so it will be another exciting fight.”
The season is currently playing host to the closest F1 title scrap for a number of years, with Verstappen set to push Hamilton all the way in the latter’s quest for a record-breaking eighth triumph.
The former has never managed to lay a glove on his decorated rival up until this point, but will continue taking huge strides towards a remarkable championship victory if he is able to maintain his scintillating form between now and the end of the campaign.
Former Williams man Damon Hill recently suggested that the upcoming British Grand Prix will eventually be remembered as a pivotal moment in this year’s battle for glory, with the 60-year-old tipping the introduction of sprint qualifying to shake things up at the front of the grid.
“Silverstone is an interesting one as it’s a circuit type we haven’t been to since Barcelona,” Hill told Sky Sports.
“It’s a circuit that obviously Lewis is strong at and the Mercedes has typically been strong at.
“Don’t forget at Silverstone we have a completely different format so everything is up in the air.
“It may not mean pure pace will resolve things, so there’s a whole lot of jeopardy out there at Silverstone that they have to navigate.
“Pirelli are also bringing a stronger rear tyre for Silverstone and it may produce disparities between the Red Bull and Mercedes depending on those tyres. Silverstone will be a big one.”
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