Lewis Hamilton needs the pressure piling on him if Valtteri Bottas is to end the six-time champion’s reign as the king of F1. That is the verdict of 1996 title-winner Damon Hill, who admits finding a way to disrupt Hamilton is a tough task.
Hamilton currently tops the World Drivers’ Championship standings after securing two wins and a fourth-place finish from the first three Grands Prix of the 2020 season.
Bottas is just five points behind his Mercedes team-mate but next up are back-to-back races at the Brit’s home circuit of Silverstone.
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Another pair of wins in Northamptonshire might see Hamilton romp away at the top of the standings, with a seventh F1 title in his sights.
The last time Hamilton did not win the drivers’ championship was in 2016, when former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg pipped him.
Hill reckons Bottas needs to take a leaf out of the German’s book if he is to get the better of Hamilton over the course of a full season.
“[Bottas] just needs to find out how to pile pressure on Lewis,” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast. “And if that means – I don’t know – doing psychological stuff, that Nico alluded to, to make Lewis lose his equilibrium, maybe he has to do that.
“It’s not something I would do. I don’t know how you do it, frankly I don’t know what you do to upset Lewis. He seems pretty impregnable.”
Hill, though, has doubts about whether Bottas has what it takes to knock Hamilton out of kilter.
And he reckons Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would be better suited to the job of disrupting the 35-year-old.
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“I think from a championship point of view I think Lewis is very comfortable,” Hill said. “I was thinking this this morning: ‘Actually you know what I really want is to make him feel a bit uncomfortable – wouldn’t it be great if you had Max alongside Lewis [in the championship]?’
“Lewis is a very hard man to beat but he can be beaten. I don’t know if Valtteri is the guy to do it.
“It’s finding a way to unlock that next level. I don’t know if you can psychologically unlock the next level. I think every driver’s got it but it’s accessing it.
“And people like Lewis can get there; they might even have another level they haven’t even been to themselves yet. That’s the worrying thing.
“I don’t know whether Lewis has actually been pushed that hard sometimes. I don’t know about Valtteri but he’s got to find something, inspiration from somewhere.”
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