George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Former F1 driver David Coulthard believes “little mistakes” from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton this season has proved how much pressure Max Verstappen is putting on him in their fierce title battle.
The Red Bull driver now leads the standings by six points heading to the Circuit of Americas in just over a week’s time, and with just six races remaining, the pressure is on both drivers.
But, despite the championship ebbing and flowing between the pair, Hamilton has been seen making a few costly mistakes over the season.
Coulthard pinpointed a few key moments, like the seven-time world champion’s trip into the gravel at Imola while chasing down Verstappen, and also his collision with the wall of the pit entry in Russia.
After the incident at the Russian Grand Prix which cost Hamilton pole, the 36-year-old admitted “that’s not what you expect from a champion”.
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Despite getting away with the incidents, Coulthard was left wondering why so many little errors were creeping in.
“A remarkable amount of little incidents, he gets away with them,” Coulthard told Channel 4.“Whether it was running into the gravel at Imola, touching the barrier and being able to reverse out and various others, [hitting] the pit wall in Russia most recently where [there was] minimal damage to the car.
“That is the remarkable thing, you don’t really see him drop the ball massively, lots of little incidents, but it shows he’s under pressure.”
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The boat has been rocked for Hamilton this season, with the announcement that his team-mate Valtteri Bottas is set to be replaced for George Russell next
Bottas is joining Alfa Romeo next season, replacing fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen who is retiring from the sport.
And Mark Webber, who raced in F1 until 2013, believes this could be an added pressure on the 36-year-old.
“I think also, is he carrying the team more than ever at the moment,” Webber added.
“Valtteri we know is on his way out, I think he’s known that the writing has been on the wall there for a while, so that side of the garage has really got a little bit lethargic.
“And Lewis is in this phenomenal fight with Max. He went straight ahead at Baku on the restart, he pulled up on the grid in Budapest on his own, no one else, everyone else got inters he was on the slicks.
“So that for me was very un-Lewis characteristically in terms of how he has done some of those errors.”
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