Formula 1

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Damon Hill: Why Lewis Hamilton must think twice about potential Mercedes renewal

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The start of the Formula One season hasn't exactly gone how everyone imagined it as Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have dominated the field.

Talk before the season centred around the overbearing success of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton - with the German team picking up the last four constructors championships while the Brit took three of the last four drivers' titles - and there were plenty of worries that things would stay the same for a while.

Mercedes, to their credit, were always firm in their beliefs that things were much closer than people said - both Hamilton and the team labelled Ferrari and Red Bull as true challengers.

And they were proven right with the first two races of the season as Vettel took home first place in both Australia and Bahrain - and he is in pole position to do the same in China.

The German comfortably qualified in first for the Grand Prix, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen in second, prompting surprise from Mercedes at just how fast the Italians look.

1996 world champion Damon Hill believes that this early season form can certainly be read into - and that Hamilton should pay particular attention.

"This is the turning point," Hill said on Sky Sports after the qualifying.

"For so long we have seen Mercedes dominate. They've had the party mode in Qualifying but now both Ferrari cars are ahead of Mercedes.

"It certainly does look like the tide has turned for the first time in a long time in this turbo-hybrid era.

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"Ferrari have won the first two races and are in a strong position to win the third."

Which brought him to compatriot Hamilton - the reigning world champion is coming to the end of his contract and Hill believes he should think twice about resigning.

"If this is the start of a new era," said Hill, "then Lewis Hamilton will have to think carefully about whether he signs up to Mercedes for a long-term contract.

"All these racing drivers know they have to be in the coming team and the team that is showing it's going to be the team with for the next era.

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"It's like empires rising and falling and maybe Mercedes are on the wane and the new Ferrari era is about to come back."

It's still early in the season, of course, but things are certainly far more encouraging for Ferrari than Mercedes; Hamilton is going to have a huge decision to make.

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Topics:
Mercedes
Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari

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