‘Easier for Hamilton to race Max rather than Rosberg’

Date published: June 14 2021 - Mark Scott

Max Verstappen Red Bull Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

Ex-Formula 1 driver, Gerhard Berger, believes it will be “easier” for Lewis Hamilton to fight a rival from another team rather than a team-mate.

Hamilton and Verstappen are going toe-to-toe with each other for the World Championship title this season in a battle that could potentially escalate to the same tension levels Hamilton experienced in 2016, when narrowly missing out on the title to his then team-mate Nico Rosberg.

But, given a choice, Berger reckons Hamilton will find it easier challenging someone from another team rather than having to endure a in-house fight at Mercedes for the Drivers’ title.

Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen

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“It’s a lot easier for Lewis to race against Max,” Berger told Sport1.

“Because it always gives you a bit of a kick up the backside when your rival is in another car.

“It’s all about whether you finish ahead of him.

“But if you don’t, you don’t lose your image because the other one might have the better car.

“But if you’re beaten by a Nico Rosberg in the same team, that’s more like an insult.”

Mistakes have crept in at certain stages on both sides of the title fight, with Hamilton the latest to cost himself precious points after accidentally flicking his brake magic switch at the restart of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

But, despite the big error, Berger is not placing too much importance on it.

“No, under this extreme pressure Lewis is still in the clear,” Berger continued.

“In Baku, he knew that he had to risk everything at the last start in order to win. It just went wrong.

“But that can happen. It is indeed interesting that Mercedes weakens from time to time under the pressure of Red Bull. Then Ferrari comes in from the side, or McLaren, who are doing a super job with Norris.

“Even a Gasly with Alpha Tauri can drive in at the front. But that’s exactly the tension that Formula 1 and its fans need.”

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