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Can Bottas and Verstappen rain on Hamilton's parade?

2020-08-06 17:30

Sean Parker

lewis hamilton

Lewis Hamilton arrives in the paddock during previews ahead of the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

• The 70th Anniversary GP takes place at Silverstone this weekend

• Lewis Hamilton won his seventh British GP and is looking for a fourth consecutive win this season 

• Hamilton's two closest rivals in the drivers' championship are Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton sits aloft the drivers' standings of the Formula 1 world championship after three wins in the last four races. The reigning champion's most recent victory came at his home race at Silverstone.

There were no fans to cheer the Briton on at his home Grand Prix, but that didn't stop the 35-year-old from starting on pole and winning the race dramatically. 

Hamilton's left front tyre on his Mercedes suffered a puncture on the final lap, and he limped home with second place Max Verstappen closing in. Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas began the season in Austria on pole position and the race win but has come up short to Hamilton. 

At last Saturday's qualifying session at Silverstone, he delivered when it mattered. Hamilton had not led a single session before the qualifying and even struggled with the car during the session. 

The Briton made an uncharacteristic error in Q2 at Luffield corner that scattered gravel onto the track. But even that couldn't distract the six-time world champion.

Hamilton regrouped, refocused and spat out the fastest lap ever at Silverstone: 1:24.303. Time and time again, Hamilton has shown his mettle and risen above personal or mechanical issues to perform at the highest level. 

For the two men closest to Hamilton in the drivers' standings, Bottas and Verstappen, the champion has them exactly where he wants them: playing catch up.  

In Hungary, it was the Red Bull car that was more suited to the majority of slow and medium corners of the Hungaroring. Verstappen was the favourite, but Hamilton claimed pole position and the race win. 

Bottas is 30 points behind his teammate while Verstappen occupies the third spot in the drivers' championship with 52 points just six behind Bottas. If the Finn and the Dutchman want to challenge Hamilton in 2020, they need to pick up race wins. And with Hamilton in the type of form he's in, that looks harder every race. 

This Sunday the drivers line up at Silverstone for the second of the doubleheader Grand Prix in the United Kingdom, named the 70th Anniversary GP. 

It gives the field another opportunity to challenge the hometown boy in his backyard. The pressure is on the rest of the drivers to be faster than Hamilton, something the Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have struggled due to their underperforming car. 

Hamilton sets himself apart from Bottas as he illustrates how much more he can extract from the Mercedes. Verstappen was a full second behind Hamilton in qualifying last weekend and knows it'll take a lot to place his Red Bull ahead of the Mercedes' for the race. 

Bottas is yet to win the British GP, while Hamilton has racked up seven wins, another record. Either way, Bottas and Verstappen will hope for something extraordinary to beat the Briton. 

Tyre issues aside, which Pirelli has cleared up, and it should be smooth sailing for Hamilton. 

Catch the race at 15:10 pm CAT on Sunday, August 9. 

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