Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton has moved up a gear in his pursuit of a record-breaking eighth World Championship.
Hamilton upping his game in the second half of the season has long been the case in his time at Mercedes, but his drives in Brazil and Qatar have put him to within eight points of Max Verstappen with the end of the season in sight.
Verstappen could win the title this weekend in Saudi Arabia if he wins the race with the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes P6 or lower, and Brundle said any minor slip-up by Mercedes could be capitalised upon by Red Bull at a critical moment in the year.
But despite that, the Sky F1 pundit feels the title fight is still very much in the balance, and Hamilton’s performances have enabled him to get to within striking distance of his rival.
Equality for all. pic.twitter.com/LklC5SZ4lB
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 1, 2021
“It’s almost like he’s moved into overdrive,” Brundle told reporters, quoted by Autosport. “He used to do that after the summer break, and people just didn’t see which way he went when he took his Mercedes titles.
“And I think he’s done the same again, probably a little bit later in the day, and Mercedes have done the same thing as Lewis has done. All of a sudden, you wonder if he’s not now the favourite for the championship with this kind of momentum.
“But it only needs some kind of trip-up, reliability, contact, puncture, whatever, and Max can take the title next weekend. Probably won’t, but could.
“It’s that finely balanced. And I think the ebb and flow of the season is what Red Bull will be very much hoping for.”
After Red Bull dominated in Mexico, Mercedes were able to leapfrog ahead of their rivals in both Brazil and Qatar and, with the unknowns of Jeddah and a revised layout in Abu Dhabi to come, knowing how the season will end is still anyone’s guess.
Hamilton’s former team-mate Nico Rosberg feels he is still the favourite to overhaul Verstappen and win the title come Abu Dhabi, but Brundle is still not certain about how it will all play out.
“I know there’s eight points in it, and the points mean everything. But who would you put your money on?” Brundle asked.
“I mean, it is literally the one incident can change it, but I don’t think they’ll be as dominant as Brazil, but I still think there’ll be the car to beat in Saudi Arabia.”
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