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I want it stated right now, so later on no one will think I am jumping on the Lewis Hamilton wagon, that I believe Lewis Hamilton will take the championship this year. If I’m wrong and it is his teammate Nico Rosberg, or a resurgent Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull so be it. If by chance a miracle befalls Fernando Alonso, Ferrari and the troubled F-14T and the Spaniard takes his third title, well, I will love being totally in the wrong ;-)

Back to reality. Back to Lewis. I have been very critical of Lewis in the past, particularly in his last years at McLaren. It looked to me as if he had just lost his focus. His flashy girlfriend, the pop music thing, all the hype was just too much of a distraction in my opinion.

What has never been in doubt for me in regards to Lewis is his absolute speed in the car. I for one feel he is a more proficient qualifier than Vettel despite the record the world champion currently holds. As far as passing the car up front, no one can make the pass stick or even find the room to pass the way Hamilton can. Lastly, similar to Alonso, no one can find the extra tenths the way Lewis can, especially in a car that might not be optimized to its full potential.

I don’t think Hamilton and Mercedes will have it all their way the entire year, Nico Rosberg is just too good for that to happen. However I think Hamilton is just a tad better and this will play out when Nico does not have the balance that he wants. Furthermore, when the teams return to Europe and start the development race in earnest we might not necessarily see such a large gap to the other teams especially Red Bull.

However, the writing is already on the carbon fiber wall. Mercedes has the best PU’s out there, the nightmare tire wear issues of last year are just that, “issues of last year,” and in Lewis, Mercedes have not only a former world champ who knows how to put together a championship winning season, but a world champion that has been sidelined the last few years. More than likely he [Hamilton] thought he would already be a multiple title winner. Translation. Hamilton is focused. Further translation – LEWIS IS HUNGRY…

I don’t think anyone is surprised that the silver and green W05 is in the top two spots after Friday practice in Bahrain. Reliability aside, most of us expect the same results for Saturday practice and Saturday qualifying. If all goes according to plan the same result will probably continue on Sunday. What speculation we can engage in is whose silver arrow will be in what position. As of right now, advantage Hamilton. It’s the hunger.

Pos Driver                Team                      Time      Gap     Laps
 1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                  1m34.325s          28
 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                  1m34.690s  +0.365  31
 3. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                   1m35.360s  +1.035  28
 4. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault          1m35.433s  +1.108  28
 5. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes         1m35.442s  +1.117  13
 6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes          1m35.528s  +1.203  21
 7. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault          1m35.606s  +1.281  29
 8. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault        1m35.640s  +1.315  31
 9. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes          1m35.662s  +1.337  22
10. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes      1m35.802s  +1.477  40
11. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes         1m35.920s  +1.595   9 
12. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault        1m35.972s  +1.647  32
13. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes      1m35.998s  +1.673  18
14. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                   1m36.366s  +2.041  32
15. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari            1m36.962s  +2.637  13
16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari            1m36.975s  +2.650  35
17. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault             1m37.259s  +2.934  24
18. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault             1m37.599s  +3.274  23
19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari          1m37.800s  +3.475  15
20. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari          1m38.247s  +3.922  10
21. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault          1m38.257s  +3.932  33
22. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault          1m39.136s  +4.811  30
  • gsprings

    hamilton will need that ability to overdrive i think, because redbull or ferarri i think will catch up to merc at some point, soon i think,that being the case,i think we may see the best driving from hamilton we have seen so far,for sure some mixing it up with his teammate to

    • I’d disagree with this being Hamilton’s best driving, but he certainly showed skill in Bahrain.

  • It’s that conundrum, isn’t it; raw talent vs intangibles. I too believe Lewis the most naturally talented, the fastest, on the grid. Those far more knowledgeable state time and again that’s there’s a suppleness to his driving, an anticipatory nature and car sensitivity, that’s overshadowed by his late braking flashiness and impressive overtaking skills.

    However, I think history shows his mental focus, and perhaps ability to see the race as a whole rather than the in-the-moment speed, some times overrides his prodigious skill, leading to more form dips than others.

    If I was a betting man, I’d say the reassurance that he as, on balance, the best mechanical package, as well as such encouraging results early on will provide the encouragement he needs win the WDC. However, who knows what curveballs the season/his personal life will stir up?

    I question Nico’s in-traffic skills and wet-weather sensitivity, but he does appear more consistent than Lewis; he’ll challenge throughout the year.

    If RBR can refine its package (particularly its MGU-K integration, if rumors are true), it’s a legitimate threat. With its PU advantage, Mercedes can afford to run very conservative packages (their cooling duct is insane for both Malaysia and Bahrain); don’t think it’ll have that cushion come the European season. If Lewis starts losing poles to Vettel/Ricciardo, one wonders if he’ll return to sulking.

  • F1derbar

    Valtteri, Felipe is quicker than you ;)

  • Just in order to go against the trend, I predict Rosberg ahead of Hamilton for today’s qualifying. Oh yeah, and I’ll throw Massa in as third fastest for good measure!

    • Whoa Tom, let’s not get crazy w/ the Massa prediction. Although, long straights, a high Vmax Williams… If you get that right you’re some sort of witch.

      • I wasn’t that bad, was I? Bottas instead of Massa, but hey, my crystal ball was foggy, I could only make out the Martini livery…

  • gsprings

    Still not convinced Williams can get all the way to the front this year,teams like toro rosso and force india should scare them

  • NeilM

    Let’s not forget the randomness factor. Lewis already got the fickle finger of fate once in Australia. That’s a tough deficit to come back from. In the new formula, with its extremely complex power units, unreliability seems likely to play a bigger part than in recent years.