F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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McLaren star Daniel Ricciardo says Lewis Hamilton is not the only driver who is able to win races in a Mercedes. The Aussie also took a swipe at Valtteri Bottas by suggesting that the Finn is not providing strong enough competition for his team-mate.
Hamilton has been relatively unchallenged over the past few years as he equalled Michael Schumacher’s world title record.
The Brit has also smashed all other achievements out of the park and is on track to go down as the greatest F1 driver of all time.
To stake that claim, Hamilton will look to add an eighth Drivers’ Championship to his tally this term.
But Ricciardo feels other drivers, including himself, would have a chance of battling at the front of the grid if they had the same machinery.
The 31-year-old was asked how much of Hamilton’s success is down to his car.
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“To answer it diplomatically, I think Lewis isn’t the only one that could win races in that car,” Ricciardo told Square Mile.
“That’s obviously my opinion and I think that George Russell, in a way, showed the possibility of that by pretty much beating Valtteri [Bottas] in his first race. So you could argue that just maybe Lewis doesn’t have the strongest competition.
He added: “I think, where we can’t be too aggressive or disrespectful to Lewis, is that, do a few of us believe we could beat him? Yes. I’m quite sure of that.
“But none of us have ever been in the hunt for a title.
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“None of us have dealt with that pressure. None of us have had that year after year. Pretty much every weekend he rocks up to a race.
“Yes, he has the best car, but he’s also expected to win all the time. And if he doesn’t, it’s, ‘OK, what happened to Lewis?'”
Ricciardo will soon be approaching the tail end of his career and he has no plans of sticking around in F1 once he retires.
“As much as I love the sport, and obviously it’s given me a lot, I think I’ll also equally love to escape from it once I’m done,” he explained.
“I’ve poured all my heart into it and energy, so when I do say I’m done, I think I’ll be done. At least for a bit of time.
“I mean, it might call me back to do something at some point… but I just see myself just going on a massive road trip and doing something really, still adventurous, but in a different way, you know, not on a schedule.
“So whether it’s related around music, food or whatever, it just sounds good.”
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