Lewis Hamilton needs worthy opponent but Max Verstappen's 2021 task is too tough

We came into the Formula 1 2021 season expecting to see Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominate once again, much like we’ve seen since the emergence of the V6 Hybrid era in 2014.
To put it in perspective, no other constructor has taken victory since the start of the 2014 season, and the stats are eye-wateringly good for the seven-time Constructors’ champions, and a mighty six of those came with Hamilton.

It eclipses Ferrari’s five-season run of title success with Michael Schumacher at the wheel at the turn of the century (I promise, F1 is not boring.).

And to quote Damon Hill, “Lewis is like Goliath, beating his chest with the question: ‘Who will challenge me?'”, he said on the F1 Nation podcast. “The great champions need someone they can spar with.”

And of course, all great champions need a worthy opponent, someone at the same level, someone who can really challenge for the win, so they don’t have to rely on being as ‘flawless’ as they can to make it happen.

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And actually, to add salt to the wounds of Red Bull, it looks like Verstappen is actively helping to make Hamilton even better, reigniting his fierce racing style – making the Briton have something to actually defend, rather than sleepwalk his way to a title.

Of course I am not suggesting a seven-time world champion has been sleepwalking his way to wins, he is ultimately one of the greatest racing drivers in history, there’s no denying that – but he hasn’t had the challenges maybe he could’ve had over the past few seasons.

No one is here to predict the future, but it’s very hard to discount Hamilton as the mighty driver that he is. He’s broken pretty much every single record put in front of him, most recently becoming the first driver in F1 history to hit triple figures for pole positions.

Formula One will oversee a huge shake-up in the rules, including a budget cap, major changes to the way F1 cars produce their performance from aerodynamic downforce, and the cars will become heavier.

The goal is to try and make the championship title fight closer and have more unpredictable racing on track, something I can’t wait to see.

So perhaps Verstappen will have to put champagne on ice this season in terms of title chances, however I do think we will see the championship go down to the wire – but it’ll be next season we can expect to see Verstappen shine.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

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