Lewis Hamilton says he would have had gone to sleep had he been a fan watching the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday.
The Mercedes driver led every one of the 44 laps at Spa-Francorchamps on his way to a commanding victory, winning the race by 8.4 seconds ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton has won five of the seven races this season, with his other two results being fourth at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix after a late-race clash with Red Bull’s Alex Albon, and second at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, where tyre degradation played a detrimental role for the Silver Arrows.
He leads Max Verstappen of Red Bull by 47 points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Bottas a further three behind.
Parallels have been drawn between the Brit’s current era of dominance and the one enjoyed by Michael Schumacher, who won a record 91 races and seven world championships, five of those in a row from 1999 onwards, between 1991 and 2006.
Should Hamilton win two more races this campaign, and capture the Drivers’ Championship, he will have matched the German’s records.
After the conclusion of the race, Hamilton explained: “I cannot speak for the fans now, but having been a fan and growing up through different eras, the Schumacher era for example, I know what it is like.
“I was a teenager back then. I would have woken up, eaten my bacon sandwich, watched the start, gone to sleep and then got up again to watch the end of the race.
“If I was watching as a fan today, I would have done the same thing and just tuned in for the highlights. I can imagine it was definitely not the most exciting race for those watching.”
Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated the V6 engine era, which began in 2014, taking the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships in all but one year. In that season (2016), it was Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg who took the title, so it was still a win for the German team.
The sport has been criticised in recent years for the lack of overtaking between drivers, who find it difficult to follow other cars too closely without losing front-end grip.
Hamilton said: “Fans need to understand this is not our fault. As drivers, we come through the ranks and we earn the positions we have.
“We come into each weekend devoted and give absolutely everything to perform at our best.
“The decision makers who design the cars and set the rules are the ones to apply pressure to, to do a better job.
“I am hopeful that is what will happen in 2022 when the regulations change and we have a new type of car, and we will see a different form of racing where we can follow closely and have closer races.”
Those regulations, when brought in, could also cause the gap to F1’s top team to reduce.
It is expected that with marginally slower cars and a more simplistic aerodynamic setup, cars will be able to run closer together in turbulent air, and an FIA intention of closing design loopholes could mean the end of a single dominant car.
The new regulations were set to be drafted in for the 2021 season, although were delayed for a season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams are now expected to enter the next campaign with similar performances levels as in 2020.
- Lewis Hamilton wins Belgian GP
- Hamilton plans to open his own personal museum
- Who is the greatest F1 driver of all time?