Inside Line: Will Hamilton still back Verstappen?

Kunal Shah 13/10/2016
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The FIA had a chat with Verstappen and told him that they’re ‘watching’ him. Well, if not for Verstappen, who have the FIA been watching all of 2016? This lad has had our eyes glued on him. Maybe, Baby Vettel is now THE Vettel for Red Bull Racing.

Will Nico Rosberg be a worthy Formula 1 champion? That’s the latest debate on social media and while we’re not taking sides, we do add our perspectives from this season.

Mercedes to Formula E? We tell you why they’re eyeing another single-seater championship and if Red Bull and Ferrari could follow suit too.

Also we tell you why Nico Hulkenberg should hedge his bets and go off to Renault and how GP3 is trying all it can to make sure their drivers are Formula 1 ready from 2017 onwards. Tune in!

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Prost banks on Rosberg to win F1 world title

F1i 13/10/2016
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Nico Rosberg.

Speaking to French broadcaster Canal Plus, Prost reiterated his belief that Rosberg will keep Lewis Hamilton at bay until the end of the season thanks to his current 33-point lead.

“A 33 point lead starts to be important,” said Prost.

“It’s much better to have that lead with four races to go than the four wins he had at the start of the season.

“He will have to manage this lead now, and get into a psychological state that is not always easy.”

Prost insisted however that it could still all go wrong for the German: should he suffer a retirement in Austin, Hamilton will be back in the chase.

“It’s never easy to manage such a big lead, especially against Lewis Hamilton, who thinks the whole world is against him now. But it could still turn, one retirement and Lewis is right back in the race.”

Noting Rosberg’s nine victories this season, Prost reminded everyone that no driver has ever won as many races and failed to win the title.

“How can you not be champion if you’ve won nine races? That is the question Nico Rosberg hopes he does not have to answer at the end of the season.

“But the German is doing everything he has to for his first world title.”

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Wolff: Hamilton ‘needs the enemy’ to function

F1i 12/10/2016
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton “needs the enemy” to be able to function at his best and warned against writing him off in the title race.

Hamilton fell 33 points behind Nico Rosberg after finishing third in the Japanese Grand Prix, leaving him with a tough task to close the gap in the drivers’ championship in the remaining four races this season. Hamilton’s weekend at Suzuka was overshadowed somewhat by his off-track behaviour – refusing to speak to the media after feeling coverage of his mobile phone usage during a press conference was “disrespectful” – but Wolff says it’s a situation in which Hamilton can thrive.

“It’s not over, there are four weekends to go, he’s going to regroup, we’ve seen it,” Wolff said. “Remember when Nico won eight races in a row and then Lewis had that winning streak? He’s very strong and he needs the enemy, sometimes more than one, and that’s how he functions. Again, I think it’s going to go down to the end.”

And while Wolff acknowledges the size of the gap between the two drivers, he admits Mercedes’ reliability concerns so far this season mean Hamilton will still take hope from a potential swing back in his favour.

“33 points is a lot. You can see how quick it goes in Malaysia, you’re in the lead and the other guy wins it’s 25 points lost and then it’s down to 8.

“This is still a mechanical sport and the way Nico attacks the championship with looking at each weekend as a single event has proven to be the right strategy for him, and equally Lewis functions best when he is under pressure and when he has a target. I have no doubt that this will be an intense fight until the end. That is far from over.”

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