Lewis Hamilton vs. Valtteri Bottas
Three races, three wins for Mercedes-AMG – but given the wider context of this whole hybrid era, what’s really impressive (and at the same time disheartening for the opposition) is just how strong the W11 has been, both in qualifying and the races. The Hungarian Grand Prix only underlined the team’s superiority, and the fact its drivers are probably facing their own personal fight for the honour of becoming world champion this year.
There’s no escaping that Valtteri Bottas is the one arriving at Silverstone under the most scrutiny. His convincing win in round one already feels like a long time ago and following a somewhat humiliating defeat at the Hungaroring, where his messy start dropped him down the field and he only salvaged third rather than the second place his car merited, he needs to dig deep. Now.
Hamilton is brilliant at Silverstone, having already won a record seven times at his home circuit. But Bottas outqualified him last year and, as the Austrian GP proved once again, he has the ability to not only outpace his six-time champion team-mate but also beat him in a straight fight. He needs to do so at least once over the next two weeks if Hamilton’s newly minted five-point world championship lead is not to be stretched further away from him. Neither driver is confirmed at Mercedes for 2021, but both are expected to remain at the team, so for Bottas that is not the pressure point. Right now, it’s all about rising from his worthy reputation as a reliable safe pair of hands and foil to Hamilton to becoming a bona fide world champion. Does he have it in him?