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Lewis Hamilton faces a nerve-wracking scrap in Mexico’s power-sapping altitude this weekend before completing the apparent formality of claiming his fifth Formula One world title.
Just a week after a bruising defeat in Texas, where a resurgent Ferrari out-performed them at the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton and Mercedes have licked their wounds in readiness for an even more challenging contest.
“We have a battle on our hands,” admitted Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “But it provides us with an opportunity to learn and come back stronger.”
That view is shared by 33-year-old Briton Hamilton, and the entire Mercedes team, as they seek to recover enough lost performance to retain both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
“We will have to keep pushing to win both (team and driver’s) titles,” said Wolff. “The United States Grand Prix confirmed what we said before the race – this year’s championship fight is far from over.”
Given that Hamilton has won six of the last eight races and has a 70-point lead over fellow four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari with three races remaining, it outcome may look inevitable. Mercedes lead Ferrari by 66 in the teams’ title race.
On paper, Hamilton requires only five points to draw level with the legendary five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio in the record books with five world championships, leaving only Michael Schumacher, on seven, to catch.
For Mercedes to seal a fifth consecutive team title, they must outscore Ferrari by 20 –- a more difficult task that will be complicated by the likely speed and belligerence of the Red Bull team. – AFP