Martin Brundle has Lewis Hamilton ‘suspicion’ which affects Max Verstappen F1 battle

 

All eyes will be on the opening F1 race of the season this weekend in Bahrain as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen go racing for the first time since the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in December. Tensions were high after the championship-deciding race with Mercedes and Hamilton incensed at decisions made by race director Michael Masi.

 

 

Hamilton has since admitted that he needed to take time away to refocus himself ahead of the new season. The FIA have now announced that Masi will be replaced with a new race director structure in place for the upcoming season.

 

It’s a decision which has been praised by Mercedes with Toto Wolff admitting the sport needed to move in a different direction. Hamilton has made it clear that he’s more motivated than ever with the hope of clinching a record-breaking eighth world title.

 

 

Mercedes didn’t look as impressive as both Ferrari and Red Bull in pre-season testing, but the Silver Arrows will be expected to challenge at the front of the grid once again. With new regulations brought in to encourage closer racing, there is every chance of seeing more on-track battles between Hamilton and Verstappen.

 

How Hamilton handles that this time around remains to be seen, but Brundle doesn’t expect the British racing superstar to be motivated by ‘anger’.

 

“I suspect Lewis is thinking, don’t get angry, get even,” Brundle told Sky Sports. “I think they realise that dwelling on that is negative energy – it’s not going to change. They made their points, changes have been made and any energy thinking about last season and Abu Dhabi in particular is wasted energy.”

 

 

Mercedes are sticking with their bold sidepod design on the W13, which had mixed results in Bahrain with both Hamilton and George Russell complaining of issues last week. But Wolff is insistent that Mercedes have found the perfect groundwork to build a championship-winning car.

 

 

 

“The start of a new Formula One season is always exciting, and this year more than most,” said Wolff. “With new technical and sporting regulations, there is so much to learn and discover as this new season begins.

 

 

“Barcelona was a productive first test of the W13, then we brought a big update to Bahrain for the pre-season test which resulted from a huge effort by the whole team. We completed good mileage, had solid reliability, and learned a lot about our new car, but it was not a straightforward three days for us.

 

 

“We tried plenty of set-up options and made good progress in understanding our limitations, and there’s still plenty of room for us to improve further. There is a lot of potential to unlock in the W13, and we know how much we relish the challenge of understanding the car and extracting the maximum from it, and this will be our focus for the coming days, weeks and months.”

 

 

 

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