Damon Hill does not rule out that Mercedes F1 could win the race before the end of the season. The 1996 world champion laments the pressure the Brackley squad is currently under, but believes Lewis Hamilton or George Russell could have a chance to succeed in 2022.
“Believe me, when you are in this situation in this sport, you know there is a lot of pressure from the media. But we always wonder if Mercedes can win the race. explains Hill.
“Something is going to happen, there’s always going to be a bad ride somewhere between now and the end of the year, there’s going to be a bad ride and Mercedes just might get that win.”
“It will ruin Max’s chances [Verstappen] win all races until the end of the season. But we will see. It will rain, one of them will rain, Suzuka will rain!”
Red Bull will limit its development on the RB18, and this is one of Mercedes’ positions according to Hill: “If they don’t make more progress now on this car, Ferrari and Mercedes will be on top of them before they get to Abu Dhabi.”
Hill admits that Verstappen no longer needs to take risks or force his talent until the end of the season, given his 116-point lead: “He doesn’t take risks. He doesn’t need to anymore, he has everything under control. He’s in great shape.”
“At Zandvoort you can see him putting the car on the side of the track at the entrance to the fast right-hander at the back of the circuit, where you go up the hill. He was looking at the top. And he knew where the edge of the car was on the left without putting the wheel in the sand, it was amazing to watch.”
A period of dominance for Red Bull?
Hill doesn’t think Red Bull is starting a period of dominance like Mercedes F1 had in the hybrid era. However, he expects to see the Milton Keynes team at the top and fighting for victory.
“When the rules changed to hybrid in 2014, Mercedes dominated the whole era, and only lost in the last season of that rule. And then with the new rules, Red Bull started well. Will it be their period of dominance? I’m not sure, because it’s so close .”
“Mercedes came up with an idea, they can come back again, but they will all be able to look at what Red Bull is doing this year and react. I think Ferrari can do the same. I don’t know if it will. It will be easy to dominate, but Red Bull started on the right foot.”