Mercedes can take sequence of success into double figures - GulfToday

Mercedes can take sequence of success into double figures

Motorsport

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race in Monaco.

London: Formula One champions Mercedes can stretch their unbeaten run into double figures in France on Sunday while rivals Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel still chafe at being denied victory in Canada two weeks ago.

Lewis Hamilton, winner last year at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit from pole position, has won five races this season while Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas has taken the other two.

Add in Hamilton’s two victories at the end of last year, after winning his fifth championship, and Mercedes are set to match their 2016 run of 10 successive wins and Ferrari’s 2002 sequence of success. Only McLaren, with 11 in a row in a near-perfect 1988 season with champions Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, have strung together a better run in the modern era.

It nearly ended in Montreal, however, with Vettel on pole and finishing first before a five second penalty for running off and rejoining in an unsafe manner demoted the German to second behind Hamilton.

Ferrari have sought a review of the stewards’ decision, apparently promising a new element that could yet provide a twist. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saw Canada as a wake-up call regardless, not least because of reliability problems the team battled right up to the start.

“We expect another tough fight in France... the circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us,” said the Austrian.

“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We’re looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again.”

Hamilton, on 78 career wins and edging ever closer to Michael Schumacher’s record 91, made a rare mistake in Canada when he hit the wall in Friday practice.

“I’ll come back stronger at the next race and hope not to make mistakes on the Friday,” said the Briton, now 29 points clear of Bottas and 62 ahead of Vettel, after a race dominated by the Ferrari controversy.

Reuters

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