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Who will be Hamilton's main challenger for the WDC
Poll ended at Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:43 am
Bottas 35%  35%  [ 9 ]
Verstappen 58%  58%  [ 15 ]
Vettel 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 26
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:43 am 
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Before Austria, it seemed unthinkable that this season would be anything but a 1-2 for Mercedes in the WDC. However since then, They've only won 1 out of three races, Hamilton had an off weekend in Hockenheim (probably in part due to being sick) and Verstappen has stolen a march on the Mercedes driver and is in touching distance of passing Bottas for second place.

Vettel also took advantage of the Mercedes clown show this Sunday and 43 points separate the three of them, with Hamilton 41 points clear of Bottas. While a Hamilton WDC is still the likely result of this season, the last three races has seen Red Bull Honda gather confidence and momentum, with there now being a big debate over whether Hamilton or Verstappen is now the sport's most elite driver.

However, while Max and Red Bull have the momentum, the unusual nature of the entire weekend hid the fact that the Ferrari had the fastest package in dry conditions (due to their engine issues in qualifying affecting both cars, and the race then happening in the wet. Of course, it was hot and the Mercedes car is allergic to the heat, so this may not reflect the actual pecking order in more typical conditions.

Having just passed half way through the season, with 10 races left, Bottas needs to outscore Hamilton by 4.2 points per race, Max needs to outscore Hamilton by 6.4 points per race for first, and Bottas by 2.3 points per race, Vettel needs to outscore Hamilton by 8.4 points, Bottas by 4.4 points and Max by 2.2 points (all per race).

Given that Leclerc would have to outscore Hamilton 12.6 points per race (and also outscore all of those ahead of him by large margins, he would require a complete implosion of 3 of the front runners to stand a change, so I think Leclerc and lower can be considered out of the WDC.

So, who of the three closest Hamilton challengers will finish highest in the championship (ie, either win it or come second to Hamilton) - Bottas, Verstappen or Vettel?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:45 am 
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Option 4 - there will be no challenge from anywhere


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:48 am 
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KingVoid wrote:
Option 4 - there will be no challenge from anywhere

Well even if no one gets close, someone will finish second to him. I personally feel it is going to be Verstappen, and the Championship will be Hamilton, Verstappen, with a big drop down to a close for 3rd between Bottas and Vettel. But Hamilton will be WDC with 2 races to go.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:48 am 
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Option 5 - Hamilton

Self destruction would be the biggest risk - and still not that big as far as risks go.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:55 am 
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I still think it's Bottas, Mercedes still have the best car.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:58 am 
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If the season started afresh for the second half of the season I would have said Leclerc. Verstappen needs things to go his way to mount a realistic challenge.
The problem is Ferrari, now if Red Bull management ran Ferrari's strategy then a challenge might be on. Realistically though Mercedes are unlikely to implode as at Germany so its No 6 for LH.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:01 pm 
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I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:19 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.


So Vettel will outperform Leclerc and Bottas in the second half of the season, that's a bold call!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:26 pm 
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Option or Prime wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.


So Vettel will outperform Leclerc and Bottas in the second half of the season, that's a bold call!


I expect Bottas will fade as he always does. Leclerc and Vettel will maintain a similar pace to each other. Verstappen could possibly finish 2nd but I think the Ferrari will be the better car over most of the rest of the season.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:27 pm 
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Option or Prime wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.


So Vettel will outperform Leclerc and Bottas in the second half of the season, that's a bold call!

Bottas will be utterly mediocre in the second half of the season as he always is.

Verstappen vs Vettel will come down to car performance.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:54 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.

I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:57 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.

I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?


It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:57 pm 
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No option for Leclerc finishing 2nd?

Anyway nobody will challenge Hamilton he is going to win by a big margin at a canter.

Hamilton's motivation to carry on comes from beating Schumacher, once that is done or Merc are no longer competitive he will bow out


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:00 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.

I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?


It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.

That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:02 pm 
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FormulaFun wrote:
No option for Leclerc finishing 2nd?

Anyway nobody will challenge Hamilton he is going to win by a big margin at a canter.

Hamilton's motivation to carry on comes from beating Schumacher, once that is done or Merc are no longer competitive he will bow out

I guess because he's never put himself forward as best of the rest, running behind Verstappen and Vettel just about all season.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:12 pm 
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I dont think there will be any real challenger, Bottas will finish P2 though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:14 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.

I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?


It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.

That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?


He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:31 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think Vettel will get P2 in the WDC.

I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?


It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.

That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?


He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.

Given that lately Leclerc is running in front of Vettel than can be closed down.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:39 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
I would say not, I would put him at best P4, the Mercedes is quicker and so is Verstappen, also Leclerc keeps starting in front of him although that can be quickly remedied I guess?


It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.

That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?


He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.

Given that lately Leclerc is running in front of Vettel than can be closed down.


I've never said it can't be.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:47 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
It doesn't need to be. Leclerc is sorting that situation out himself.

That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?


He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.

Given that lately Leclerc is running in front of Vettel than can be closed down.


I've never said it can't be.

Well given present form I can see him closing that gap and like I said before it may depend on whether Vettel is still going to get preferential treatment?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:12 pm 
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Five drivers and three teams all capable of beating each other and winning a race. Nice :D

If the pecking order stays the same teamwise I think Bottas will finish second as the other three will take points off each other. Depending on the result from Hungary we could see Bottas and Leclerc relegated to wingmen.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:32 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
That being the case strange that you have Vettel at P2, he is clearly struggling presently to beat Leclerc?


He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.

Given that lately Leclerc is running in front of Vettel than can be closed down.


I've never said it can't be.

Well given present form I can see him closing that gap and like I said before it may depend on whether Vettel is still going to get preferential treatment?


I think it depends who makes the fewest mistakes.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:33 pm 
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himself. keep it on the track, he wins another title easy


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:32 pm 
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I think Verstappen as he's upped his game & consistency. Honda is getting upgraded engines at Monza & Sochi which could make Honda close to Mercedes power. Hamilton Vs. Verstappen battling out is more tasty than Hamilton Vs. Vettel.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:29 pm 
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I think you could make an argument for any of the three being Hamilton's biggest threat.

I'm not sure the second half of the season will be as straightforward for Hamilton as some think, or as straightforward as the first half has been. I think the gap between Merc and the other two has closed a bit and with Verstappen driving at a very high level he might cause some issues for him, and perhaps Germany will be a turning point for Vettel. I'm not saying Hamilton isn't going to win the WDC though, I think he will but with some tough fights in races from now on.

There could be some good battles in the second half of the season with three teams being fairly close in some races.

To answer the OP though: Verstappen. Bottas will drop off a bit as usual and he won't be able to collect podiums as much as he has in the first 11 races.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:40 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
FormulaFun wrote:
No option for Leclerc finishing 2nd?

Anyway nobody will challenge Hamilton he is going to win by a big margin at a canter.

Hamilton's motivation to carry on comes from beating Schumacher, once that is done or Merc are no longer competitive he will bow out

I guess because he's never put himself forward as best of the rest, running behind Verstappen and Vettel just about all season.


Running behind Vettel and Verstappen?? Sure.

He's making the mistakes you'd expect someone in their 1st season in a new front running team in his 2nd season to be making but his pace is not up for debate in the past 3-4 races


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Current standings after Germany
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 225
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 184
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 162
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 141
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 120
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 55

Unless Lewis has a meltdown, I don't see anyone challenging him.
The battle for second looks like it could get interesting. Max, Sebastian, and Charles could all have a go at Valtteri. Valtteri finished fifth last year behind Lewis, Sebastian, Kimi, and Max. If VAltteri falls to third or fourth, I would think that Ocon will get Bottas' seat next year.

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Last edited by Mort Canard on Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:41 pm 
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Mort Canard wrote:
Current standings after Germany
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 225
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 184
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 162
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 141
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 120
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 55

Unless Lewis has a meltdown, I don't see anyone challenging him.
The battle for second looks like it could get interesting. Max, Sebastian, and Charles could all have a go at Valtteri. Valtteri finished fifth last year behind Lewis, Sebastian, Kimi, and Max. I VAltteri falls to third or fourth, I would think that Ocon will get Bottas' seat next year.


Won't Mercedes want/need to make a decision sooner than when they will know that though?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:50 pm 
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Bottas will be the closest 'challenger' but Hamilton will be a 6x WDC by the time the F1 circus leaves Texas. Might even have it won in Mexico.

If I had to predict, I would say Mercedes will finish 1-2 in at least four of the remaining races and Hamilton will probably finish ahead of Bottas in seven of the ten races left. Red Bull (Max) will win two out of Hungary, Singapore and Mexico, but there will be too many Mercedes 1-2s where Max loses points to both Mercs, as well as weekends where he finishes behind both Mercedes and one/both of the red cars. Meanwhile Ferrari will split the weekends where Vettel and Leclerc are ahead of each other, probably win a race or two, but also continue to suffer from a combination of unreliability, driver mistakes and bad strategic decisions. Between their drivers taking points out of each other and their collective mistakes costing them points, they won't mount a serious challenge and it'll be another could've been season.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:06 am 
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JN23 wrote:
Mort Canard wrote:
Current standings after Germany
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 225
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 184
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 162
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 141
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 120
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 55

Unless Lewis has a meltdown, I don't see anyone challenging him.
The battle for second looks like it could get interesting. Max, Sebastian, and Charles could all have a go at Valtteri. Valtteri finished fifth last year behind Lewis, Sebastian, Kimi, and Max. I VAltteri falls to third or fourth, I would think that Ocon will get Bottas' seat next year.


Won't Mercedes want/need to make a decision sooner than when they will know that though?


Yes Merc will have to have a driver for 2020 ready to name in a couple of months. Valtteri will have to at least hold on to a convincing second till the contract is signed. If Max is taking large chunks out of Valtteri's points lead, then it won't be good for his continued career at Merc.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:35 am 
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I'm taking option D - he won't have one. A challenger implies there's an actual challenge, and I don't see one shaping up.

2nd in the WDC seems likely to be Max.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:53 am 
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I don't expect him to be challenged at all at this point, but if Red Bull has good development over the second half of the season I could see a challenge coming from Verstappen. The other two... do not look likely.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:32 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
He's 21 points ahead in WDC. I think the relative performance of the two will stay the same.

Given that lately Leclerc is running in front of Vettel than can be closed down.


I've never said it can't be.

Well given present form I can see him closing that gap and like I said before it may depend on whether Vettel is still going to get preferential treatment?


I think it depends who makes the fewest mistakes.

In that case then they will be taking points off each other, that dents Vettel's aspirations.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:01 pm 
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It should be Bottas, but after the Verstappen and redbull's recent form I'm thinking that Max may well be 2nd this year.

I think it comes down to Bottas's mind set after the Spa and if he either has a new contract with Mercedes which may relieve some tension and let him concentrate on driving better, or maybe a contract with a new team giving him the 'what have I got to lose' mentality and he can just go for it!

I can't see either Ferrari driver taking the fight to Max, but I expect Vettel may be close if he can keep it together for the rest of the season.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:19 pm 
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Just to clarify, and I did state this in my OP, that if you think Hamilton is going to win the WDC by a large margin, then you should vote for who you think will be second in the WDC.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:31 pm 
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After a few bad races, Merc will be on top as usual. Nothing to see here. Just a little bad patch, not much to see.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:35 am 
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Verstappen will probably get the closest as he's performing so strongly. As much as I'd like tp see a close battle though, I just can't see it.

I feel like Ferrari and Red Bull will be strong at different tracks and take points off of each other, and Merc will be consistent enough to get the job done.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:05 pm 
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Verstappen.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:08 pm 
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I don't kid myself any excitement for the title will ensue. Bottas will be the closest, but it's doubtful Merc. will run that challenge, so...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:01 pm 
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I'll wait on the Hungary race-pace before making a final call, but if it goes as I imagine it will, perhaps it'd be foolish to already crown a Mercedes WDC, especially on the current evidence of Mercedes status equality as Max goes full steam ahead rampaging all over his hapless (and in some sense unfortunate) teammate. If RBR are even just equal with Mercedes going forward, Maximum Verstappenen can make it herhappenen.


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