Formula 1 news: Jolyon Palmer believes the Mercedes recent improvements and the races left this year, make Lewis Hamilton a favourite for the first time this year.
Lewis had to take a grid penalty this year in Turkey starting the race at P11. But he recovered well from that and finished with P5 while Verstappen finished behind Bottas in P2.
The way Bottas performed and the apparent gap between Mercedes and Red Bull in qualifying and the race itself, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer believes Lewis Hamilton could take the Formula 1 title in 2021.
Palmer said after the Turkish Grand Prix, “You know what, for the first time this season I’m starting to think maybe Lewis is the favourite overall,” reports talkSPORT.
Formula 1 news: Jolyon Palmer expands on his thoughts
Post the Turkish Grand Prix, the former Renault driver has a lot to say. He weighted that Hamilton could be a strong contender for this year’s title as Max leads the table with six more points.
“I actually think Verstappen can’t be happy with that race. Yes, he’s taken second, he’s got the championship lead, but he was no match for Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton, if he was starting from pole which is where he qualified, he’s winning this easily I think.
“Lewis has taken his engine penalty, lost a few points, that was pretty much going to be a given unless something remarkable happened which it didn’t. But I’m worried for Red Bull because I can’t remember the last time they really showed a lot of pace.”
Formula 1 news: What makes Palmer so confident about Hamilton?
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks DNF could change the whole outcome of the season as the race for the title will go on till the last race. But with the remaining circuits, the ball could roll into either team’s court. Traditionally Red Bull has done well at high altitude circuits such as Brazil and Mexico. With Hamilton winning the last five times at Austin, which is the next circuit the race is surely going to be a cracker.
Though Red Bull holds the advantage in the upcoming races, Palmer feels that their rivals have an edge for the remainder of the year. Palmer displayed blatant confidence in Mercedes by saying, “What I’ve thought is that USA, Mexico and Sao Paulo coming up could be better for Red Bull, but quite frankly I think the last three in the Middle East could be better for Mercedes,”.
“[Turkey] was in between, no one really knew where it was going to go, and it was quite categorically Mercedes who were stronger. The fact that Bottas was completely unchallenged by Verstappen, they were one and two the whole race, but Bottas never had to check his mirrors, ended up winning by 15 seconds.
“That’s a statement by Mercedes, and even though Hamilton’s behind in the championship, he’s the stronger [Mercedes] driver quite comfortably.
“He’s going to be able to apply the pressure and really turn the screw in the middle eastern races, Verstappen has to really fly in the next couple.”