Lewis Hamilton fears there’s a “high chance” that Max Verstappen will win all 10 remaining races this season – and believes the Dutchman’s crushing dominance may final till 2026.
Following a four-week summer time shutdown, Formula One fires up this weekend at Verstappen’s residence spherical within the Netherlands.
Verstappen has received the final eight races and he’ll match Sebastian Vettel’s document of 9 on the spin for Red Bull in 2013 if he triumphs in entrance of his orange-clad Dutch followers right here on Sunday.
Such is the dominance of Verstappen’s machine – and the two-time world champion’s supreme kind – there’s a feeling within the paddock, not solely that Red Bull may change into the primary group to undergo a marketing campaign unbeaten, however that Verstappen might be victorious at every of the concluding 10 rounds.
“There is a high chance that he (Verstappen) will win every race,” mentioned Hamilton, 38. “He hasn’t made any mistakes and the team hasn’t made many this year. They might win everything.
“But later on in the year, maybe we will get closer and we are hopeful we can challenge them at some point – whether that is this weekend, or who knows where? If there are any mistakes or mishaps, we will be right there to capitalise.”
Verstappen has dominated since F1’s laws have been overhauled firstly of final season, along with his snug victory on the concluding spherical earlier than the break in Belgium his tenth from 12 thus far and his nineteenth from his final 23 outings.
He is a staggering 125 factors clear within the standings as he closes in on a hat-trick of titles.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc predicted on Thursday that it might be “very, very difficult” to catch Verstappen and Red Bull earlier than the game’s subsequent main rule change in 2026.
And Hamilton continued: “The fact is Red Bull are ahead and they have most likely started development on next year’s car a month before anybody else. It is very, very possible that Charles could be right.
“We are working on the steep gradient to develop our car and close the gap. Whether or not we can, next year will be the proof.”
Hamilton’s £40million-a-year contract expires on the finish of the season and the Briton mentioned on Thursday that have been there was no replace on his subsequent deal, regardless of group principal Toto Wolff claiming – forward of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 18 – that his star driver’s future could be resolved in “days rather than weeks”.
Hamilton is fourth within the standings, 41 factors adrift of Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez who occupies the runner-up spot, whereas Mercedes are second within the group standings, an eye-watering 256 factors behind Red Bull, however 51 factors away from Ferrari.
“It is a huge achievement to be second in the championship and it is something I feel has been overlooked,” mentioned Hamilton. “We want to win but I am really proud of the team and the steps we have taken.
“The guys think this track is not too different to Budapest and our car was good in Budapest. Even last year when the car was not great in Zandvoort, we were closer to the front.
“George (Russell) finished second and at one point I was hunting down the lead so I am hoping we are closer or in shooting range of a podium this weekend.
“We have the belief we will get there. And my goal is to try and keep that second place in the constructors’ championship and hunt down second in the drivers’ standings.”