It seemed like ages ago when Nico Rosberg won his World Title and promptly rode off into the sunset. Mercedes scramble to find a new driver to replace Nico. Pre-season testing came and went and it appeared Ferrari was going to give Mercedes a fight this season. We had hope that 2017 was not going to be the Mercedes parade of dominance that the past three seasons were. The first race weekend is upon us and then Lewis Hamilton goes out and smacks the field by more than half a second in the first two practice sessions.
All that speculation, all that wonder, all that hope for 2017 gone. Lewis smashed all of it in the span of a day. Here we go again, another season filled with Mercedes domination this time without any inter-team drama from Merc to keep things interesting. Snoozeville meet the 2017 Formula 1 Season.
Bless his heart, Hamilton is saying all the right things to give us hope.
“I think Ferrari’s still very, very fast and strong, stronger than they’ve ever been, so we have to keep a close eye on them. They might not have the power turned up or whatever it may be, so we’ll see tomorrow.”
Is Lewis being humble or does Ferrari or any other team have anything for Mercedes? While Hamilton went out and smoked the field his new teammate Valtteri Bottas did not. Bottas found himself right in the thick of it with Ferrari and Red Bull.
“I still have work to do. There’s no particular area where I was losing out, but I know I have work to do.” Bottas told the media.
Hamilton and Bottas are in the same car, so what gives? One Mercedes is dominating while the other is in a fight with their rivals. I believe what we’re seeing is the beginning of the Lewis Hamilton Formula 1 F.U. tour. Lewis had to be pissed at the way last season’s Championship played out. Had it not been for early season engine woes he likely wins the 2016 Championship. He knew he was the best driver of 2016 but it was his teammate that walked away with the hardware. That is a hard pill to swallow fur the ultra competitive person that is Lewis Hamilton.
This whole off-season he had to answer questions about Nico while Merc searched for his replacement. He had to listen to everyone speculate about their relationship and that gets old in a hurry. I think all of the off track drama has focused Lewis, has him coming into the 2017 season out for blood. I don’t think it is enough for Lewis to win another Championship this season, he wants to do so in dominate fashion. He wants to leave zero doubt who the top dog is and were seeing a culmination of that attitude unfold in Melbourne. Lewis is on another level so far and some of his rivals have begun to take notice.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is one of them, “Mercedes is quick, but it is more Lewis at the moment than Valtteri. Valtteri at the moment looks like he is in our group, or the group with Ferrari.”
Ever since the end of last season I have been saying that It may not be a Mercedes 1-2 Championship fight this season. Ferrari would appear to have the car to split the Mercedes drivers this season, but they need to up the intensity if they have any hope of matching Lewis.