The last few years, the only real challenger to Lewis Hamilton in Formula One competition has been his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. The duo were by far the class of the field. But, when Rosberg decided to retire following his championship in 2016, mixed with a new car for the 2017 season, the gap between Hamilton and the rest of the teams has shortened. In fact, Hamilton has a new fight on his hands, and it’s not a Mercedes teammate.
Hamilton, picked up his ninth straight podium finish last weekend in Bahrain, 3-for-3 in 2017, but it wasn’t a victory. In fact, he has only one win in 2017 while Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel has two. That has Hamilton in a deficit in the points standings heading into Sochi in two weeks. That in return shows that Ferrari has the pace to keep up with the Mercedes drivers this season and Hamilton can’t run away with wins this year.
Hamilton, has had a podium every race since Malaysia last season. Prior to Malaysia though, Hamilton had seven straight podiums to give him 15 podium finishes in his last 16 Grand Prix’s. He has nine wins in that time frame.
But, Ferrari and most notably Vettel, has closed the gap, as Vettel leads Hamilton by seven points after the first three races. Ultimately, Hamilton needs to win in Russia to make this an interesting fight for the championship or Vettel could wind up running away with things if he’s not careful.
Luckily, Hamilton has won two of the three trips to Sochi and needs a third win in order to recapture his magic. If not, things could really heat up between the leads drivers at Ferrari and Mercedes.