Formula 1

Mercedes: F1 title chances

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As we approach the end of the mid-season break, the Formula 1 world is more privileged than it may think with this season's championship.

Although at a glance it appears that Sebastian Vettel is running away with the championship, scratch just a little beneath the surface and the world of statistics leaves hope for the others yet.

First up is Nico Rosberg.

Championship Standing: 6th

Points: 84

Season Victories: 2 (Monte Carlo, Silverstone)

The German, although having taken more wins than his British counterpart, sits a lacklustre 40 points behind his team-mate.

This is, for the most part, as a result of some poor luck - he has had three DNFs this season.

However, at this point in the championship, with only 225 points available, it is almost certain that Rosberg is out of the running.

This is a 88-point gap, and recent form suggests that his team-mate, as well as the Red Bull racer, is in better form, with pole position secured at the last three races - and at last, a victory, in Hungary.

Even if the momentum returned to Nico, one feels that 88 points is a gap which is more-or-less in-bridgeable. It's a case of 'maybe next year', therefore, for Nico Rosberg's championship chances this year.

Now for the puckish Brit: Lewis Hamilton.

Championship Standing: 4th

Points: 124

Season Victories: 1 (Hungaroring)

Sitting 48 points behind Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton stands out as the person who is as likely as any to challenge the newly-blonde man from Germany.

At first reading, the statistics are grim; however, on the basis of recent form, it's a different story.

Vettel may have three more race-wins this season than Lewis Hamilton, but of course he drives a car without the plague of tyre degradation - at least, not to the same level of the Mercedes.

However, as previously stated, Mercedes and Lewis are on a fabulous run of form, with three poles in the last three races, culminating in the victory weeks ago; a victory which suggested that maybe, those degradation problems were becoming a thing of the past.

If Mercedes are able to balance their qualifying speed, which is stupendous, with a car which can last on the fragile Pirelli tyres, the Briton has a chance as the crown. Add to this the fact that Red Bull's philosophy of 'qualify at the front and blast away at the start' is not valid any more, with Mercedes AMG's qualifying pace, and Sebastian Vettel's vulnerability when racing in the pack, as demonstrated in his tussle with Jenson Button a few weeks back, and Lewis not only has a chance - he is a genuine title contender.

The Formula 1 season looks as though it will be anything but a procession to the title, this half of the season. Blink and you'll miss it - literally!

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