In recent races, Lewis Hamilton has been catching up with World Cup leader Max Verstappen. After the victories in Brazil and Qatar, the gap between the two has narrowed to just eight points. In the latest RacingNews365 podcast, Tom Coronel and Ruud Dimmers look at the current state of affairs in the battle for the Formula 1 title.
Asked whether Hamilton rises above himself due to the constant pressure from Verstappen, Dimmers says that the reigning world champion does not always need this. “But his qualifying round was really good. In one go he just takes a few tenths ahead. Then Verstappen heard the gap of four and a half tenths, he was somewhat okay with that, just swallow.”
Coronel does see change at Hamilton. “The pressure Verstappen puts on Lewis gives him a certain flair, a certain enthusiasm. This makes him even tighter and more intense as a driver. It was too easy for him in previous years,” the Dutch driver said.
Hamilton clear in the second half of the season?
Due to the pressure from Verstappen, Hamilton occasionally made some mistakes, Coronel thinks. “I see that he also makes some mistakes under pressure, but that really makes him peak and he also does things that you think: this is not normal. I think that’s really great to see.” Dimmers sees fewer and fewer mistakes at Hamilton in the second half of the season.
“At the beginning of the season he was not always sharp, but now he is really on top of it. He has not made a mistake since the summer break. Verstappen, on the other hand, has not.” Dimmers also sees from the build-up of a Grand Prix weekend that Hamilton has his affairs in order.
“It is a game for Hamilton to shout during training that you are not in it. Then you already know that if he shouts that, then it is just fine. Then he is back on pole.”
Listen to the entire podcast below.