Lewis Hamilton 'lucky to be leading F1 standings after going unpunished for mistakes'

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Former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer has suggested that Lewis Hamilton might be a little lucky to be where he is in terms of leading the standings at the moment in Formula 1.

The reigning champion leads the way after three rounds with him extending his lead to eight points at the weekend with a fine win in Portugal that saw him overtake both Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas on track.

Indeed, it was a fine drive from the Briton and he thoroughly deserved his victory but Verstappen may have felt things could have been a little different with a mistake letting Hamilton in to overtake him and also another minor one stopping him from taking pole.

Of course, we've seen Verstappen make other such minor errors like running wide in Bahrain to lose out on victory and Palmer has suggested Hamilton has not been as punished for his own errors - the chief one being his run into the wall at Imola a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking to the BBC's Chequered Flag podcast, Palmer said:

“We’re talking three errors for Verstappen this weekend – the qualifying one, tiny error, punished; the one behind Bottas, again small error that was punished.

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“Is Hamilton more experienced, is he making fewer errors? The guy crashed it into the wall at Imola!

“He has made a far bigger, and should have been far costlier, mistake than all of the mistakes Verstappen made [in Portugal] put together, but circumstance got him back to second place – and a great recovery drive thereafter the red flag.

“But without Bottas and Russell crashing in the manner they did, there’s not a Safety Car, there’s not a red flag at the perfect time that Hamilton can basically restart the race from ninth place rather than being ninth plus a pit-stop and, by the way, a lap down.

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“Hamilton is making very few errors overall, but he has also made a big one this year that should have cost him a lot more than six points in the end to Verstappen at Imola.

“It’s not just one of them making errors – one of them is making a lot of small ones, the other has made one big one over three races.”

Of course, Hamilton did get away with one in Imola, it must be said, but these things do even them out over the season and there will surely be a time where Max gets a bit lucky or something falls in his favour.

Ultimately, these things do happen in F1 and Hamilton, over the course of the year, will be as relentless and as close to immaculate as possible as he always has been - it's up to Max to try and match that.

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