Hamilton shares his Verstappen bet with Red Bull running away with world titles
Lewis Hamilton is willing to bet that Max Verstappen will extend his win total to 19 before the Formula 1 season is out. The three-time F1 champion secured a record-breaking 16th win of the season at the Mexican Grand Prix and doesn’t look like he will be easing up with three races left this year.
It has been a campaign of utter dominance for Verstappen and Red Bull. The Dutchman clinched the F1 crown for the third year running in Qatar – five races before the conclusion of the 2023 season.
He is also on the verge of becoming the first driver in F1 history to break the coveted 500-point barrier in a single season. Verstappen has accumulated 491 points so far with 86 points left up for grabs during the final three races in Sao Paulo, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull picked up their sixth constructor championship one race prior to Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix. They are also on the cusp of breaking the points record for an F1 team with 731 points totalled heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The current record for a single season is the 765 points Mercedes secured during the 2016 campaign where Hamilton narrowly missed out on his fourth F1 title to team-mate Nico Rosberg. Red Bull are on course to smash right through that tally barring a freak occurrence.
Speaking ahead of the Sao Paulo GP, Hamilton revealed that Mercedes’ pace in Mexico fills them with confidence as they reach the final few races of the season but also admits that it is unlikely anyone will beat Verstappen down the home stretch.
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“It definitely gives us a lot of confidence,” Hamilton told assembled media. “I mean, last year, at the same time, we were doing the same thing, but last year, I think we were three-tenths behind Max in qualifying or something like that and I came second, but he walked off with the win.
“So we’re really just mirroring what we did last year, so we have to make some real big changes for next year. Obviously in Bahrain earlier this year, they were 1.5s a lap faster than us, at least, so the key is to make sure that is not the case in Bahrain [for the 2024 season opener]. Hopefully, these next couple of races will be close, but I’d probably put money on it that [Max] will get to 18, 19 [wins] with that car.”
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