Lewis Hamilton is actually no champagne shower out of the way. When spraying the sparkling wine on the podiums of the Formula 1 world, it's all about rewarding oneself for a successful race. But when the Briton knelt in front of the Mercedes garage after the Grand Prix of Russia in fresh clothes and presented the trophies in front of his team, approached the next shower - and Hamilton took the flight.
Despite his victory in Sochi and his comfortable lead in the World Cup classification, the 34-year-old does not want to talk about the possibility of being world champion again soon, it would be the sixth time. "I do not think about winning the title," said Hamilton after the race, which he won thanks to Ferrari's technical problems.
A look at the championship ranking shows how close Hamilton is to defending the title. He is 322 points
- 73 points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas (249),
- Ferrari's young star Charles Leclerc (215) is already 107 points behind,
- closely followed by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull (212).
- Sebastian Vettel (194) could win the world title only if he wins all five races, Hamilton retires five times and Vettel also picks up the point for the fastest lap of the race.
In the optimal case, a driver can still collect 130 championship points.
The mathematical advantage is one thing. But Hamilton is also by far the most consistent driver - and the four competitors make it easy for the Mercedes driver for different reasons:
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Valtteri Bottas is for Mercedes a lot, but not a World Cup candidate
Valtteri Bottas: The Finn started the season furiously with two wins and three second places. But athletic, he is not on par with Hamilton. After years of conflicting team duels between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the Silver Arrows wanted a driver who behaves quietly as number two in the team and makes no demands in public. They found him in Bottas.
The race in Sochi has shown that again. Bottas could not go in any phase, the pace of Hamilton, Leclerc and Vettel. And when Mercedes fell in the laps of the lead through the safety car phase caused by Vettel, Bottas had once again only one task: to slow down a pursuer (this time Leclerc) and to secure Hamilton's victory.
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The conflict between Sebastian Vettel (l.) And Charles Leclerc charged Ferrari
Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel: The memory of the successful, but sometimes turbulent Mercedes years with Hamilton and Rosberg show that the lack of commitment to a number one successes, ie World Championships can bring. Hamilton won in 2014 and 2015, Rosberg took the title in 2016. But ultimately, the dominance of Mercedes engines was so great that the overall success was not compromised.
Ferrari is far from that. Although the Scuderia has the strongest engine available and can use a significant speed advantage on straights. But in Formula 1, more is needed: cornering speed, technical reliability, racing tactics - and the best possible performance of the pilots. In this point, Leclerc and Vettel come close to the best form, but this comes a little late this season. And the increasingly obvious conflict between the Monegassen and the German does not help Ferrari.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff knows such problems: "It shows that it is not completely trivial to manage two drivers who claim to win at the top," said the Austrian in Sochi. "We did it as a team and it's not easy."
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Max Verstappen is talented, but not constant
Max Verstappen: Remains the Dutch top talent of Red Bull, which has been overshadowed in recent weeks by almost the same age Leclerc. Verstappen's victories in Austria and Germany have shown what potential he has. But he can not always call that up, and his racing car does not work on all tracks.