Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton.

Formula 1 legend insists Lewis Hamilton is favourite for the 2018 Championship

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The 2018 Formula 1 season is just around the corner, with teams currently rolling out their new supercars in anticipation of the opening weekend in Melbourne in four weeks.

Mercedes will unveil the car that Valtteri Bottas and the current world champion Lewis Hamilton will try and steer to glory over the coming weeks and months, and another British former title winner in the sport believes Hamilton has to be considered the favourite to retain his title.

Hamilton has not been seen in the public eye, though, since the turn of the year, after he was lambasted in the press and on social media for comments made about his nephew wearing a dress.

He will appear, though, before the cameras to unveil the latest vehicle off the Mercedes production line, as he attempts to gain back-to-back championships, but will have stern competition from the likes of teammate Bottas, Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, and last year's nearest rival Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"There is no question that Lewis and Mercedes are the clear favourites again," stated Mansell, who won the 1992 championship for constructors Williams-Renault.

"Lewis has got many more years in him if he has got the appetite, and I can see no reason why he cannot win a few more world championships and set the bar very high for the future.

"I just hope for the good of Formula One that Ferrari, Red Bull, and even McLaren can put a challenge to Mercedes so we can have some exciting racing.

"You mustn't underestimate the great job that Ferrari did last year - although they had problems and Sebastian had a few races that went the wrong way - without their tremendous strive to win the championship it wouldn't have been as exciting as it was.

"I hope they continued in that vein over the winter, and hopefully Red Bull have found some more power from their Renault engine, too."

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With his Mercedes contract expiring at the end of the upcoming season, there have been several rumours that Hamilton may jump ship if another constructor proves themselves to be more powerful this campaign.

But, Mercedes chiefs, and Mansell himself, are confident that they will retain the 33-year old, and it will only be a matter of time before he puts pen to paper.

"I would be very surprised if Lewis did not sign a new deal with Mercedes," Mansell added.

"But, if Red Bull or Ferrari were to do something special over the winter by making the jump over Mercedes, and then offer Lewis an incredible deal, who knows?

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"At the moment, however, Lewis has the world at his feet, he is in the best car and at the best team, so why would you want to change it?

"Some people in their careers are very privileged to be in a strong position and Lewis is one of those because he can afford to be patient. When the time is right for him, he will sign on the dotted line."

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Daniel Ricciardo
Formula 1
Max Verstappen
Valterri Bottas
Fernando Alonso
Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton

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