Barcelona: Lewis Hamilton cut short his celebrations after winning the Spanish Grand Prix, here Sunday to warn that Mercedes’ dominance could be a menace to Formula One’s (F1) box office appeal.
The defending five-time World Champion seized the initiative at the start of Sunday’s race and then cruised to his 76th career victory ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had started in pole position. It was the Mercedes pairing’s fifth consecutive one-two finish and left rivals Ferrari floundering in pursuit.
The two Mercedes drivers are competing against each other… and it’s not much fun for outsiders, admits Hamilton, especially for spectators. Rivals have already installed Mercedes as favourites and the drivers’ championship as a two-man race.
Hamilton is hopeful that for the sake of the sport, any such scenario never happens. “The biggest threat is always the person that’s closest to you, he said. “And that person is Valtteri, but it still feels too early… It’s not as much fun, for sure, as when you are competing against another team. That’s what F1 is about,” said Hamilton.
“That’s the exciting part, when you arrive and you’re competing against one or two other teams who are also bringing their A-game. Naturally in those teams, that’s another two drivers. That puts another spanner in the works and often when the cars are close, there are strengths and weaknesses of either team and how you play those and benefit from those, it’s awesome.
“But when that’s not there it’s definitely not as exciting from a competition point of view. Racing within a team, it’s not really how F1 should be in my opinion, but it is how it is right now,” added the defending drivers’ champion.
No team has won every race in a season, but McLaren came close in 1988 when they triumphed in 15 of the 16 races – beaten only when Ferrari took advantage of a late collision at Monza –Mercedes, in 2016, won 19 of 21.