Lewis Hamilton may be the man with the advantage heading into the final two races of the Formula One season thanks to Mercedes’ ‘secrets’, according to Honda’s managing director Masashi Yamamoto. Hamilton finds himself in second place in the driver standings behind leader Max Verstappen, however the Mercedes star has recently reduced the Dutchman’s lead to eight points thanks to back-to-back wins.
Despite being the man in second though, Honda boss Yamamoto believes the seven-time world champion is the man in the driving seat heading into the penultimate race of the season this weekend. Yamamoto – whose team are Red Bull’s engine partner – said: “Mercedes may have secrets, but they only have to finish the remaining two races.
“We are still ahead on points, but I don’t think we have an advantage. The situation is critical and the tension is increasing.” Despite Yamamoto’s word of warning, Verstappen is in fact still the man to catch as he hunts down a first ever Formula One title.
Despite being within touching distance of the world title it seems the Dutchman is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, and not getting carried away about potentially becoming champion just yet. When asked by DAZN about his chances of becoming world champion in Abu Dhabi in just under two weeks time, he replied: “I don’t know and that’s a good thing. “Because I don’t think about these things. I’ll improvise when the time comes, if it comes.”
One man who is confident that Red Bull can collect the drivers’ world championship for the first time since 2013 is the team’s advisor Helmut Marko. Despite Mercedes being tipped to have the stronger car ahead of the final two races, Marko believes the experience of Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey could well prove the difference for Verstappen and his team.
Marko told Auto Motor und Sport: “Newey started out as a racer. If he sees a chance to win, then he is motivated in a completely different way than when he has a power unit at his disposal which is 30 horsepower too weak. There is no one more experienced in the championship, no one who has won so many titles with different teams, than him. This then motivates the other engineers in every department.”