The world champion from 1996 Damon Hill believes that his compatriot Lewis Hamilton will achieve the first victory of the season at the next race of the championship in France after the collision of the main protagonists for the title Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton has taken at least one win in every F1 season he has competed in since 2007 his least successful being in 2013 in his first season with Mercedes when he won just once.’
This season Mercedes is only the third fastest team on average and in most races Hamilton was not even close to victory, and in the home race at Silverstone he was closest to that success, which was also Mercedes’ best race in terms of speed.
Although Hamilton finished third at Silverstone with the fastest lap, Mercedes looked as quick as their rivals from Ferrari and Red Bull for the first time, and the flat surface and configuration of the Paul Ricard track could also work in their favour.
“I think Lewis Hamilton will win,” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.
“I think there will be an incident. We talked about how well they’ve raced [Verstappen and Leclerc] so far, I think the first corner is a bit awkward, that little chicane.”
“Let’s say Charles loses a front wing and Max gets a flat tire or something. Or maybe in terms of sheer speed, Mercedes will surprise us.”
“I think Lewis was very, very fast at times in the conditions of the race. Lewis could be first, George second and Carlos Sainz third.”
Hamilton will make his 300th appearance in Formula 1 in France, in which he has 103 wins and 103 pole positions, and another former F1 driver, Gerhard Berger, believes that Hamilton will not have a chance to win against the faster drivers of Ferrari and Red Bull.
“I wouldn’t go that far,” said the Austrian.
“Mercedes is nowhere near as good this year. Maybe he’ll be a little better, but I don’t think he’ll be so much better that he’ll suddenly play a role in the fight for victory.”
“Paul Ricard has always been a slightly different track, it’s very smooth, a very different type of track. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes does a little better there, it’s a very flat track.”
But in general, we will see Red Bull and Ferrari fight again,” concluded Berger.
Hamilton will miss the first free practice session in France to give Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries the first of two mandatory opportunities each team must give young drivers.