Lewis Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas has had a renaissance of sorts ever since his future was secured at Alfa Romeo. He outqualified the Brit at Monza and looked like the quicker driver in Russia. At the Turkish Grand Prix, he secured victory, albeit after Hamilton had to start from 11th on the grid.
After the race, Bottas revealed an interesting point of view. He felt that given he still had a mathematical shot at the title, his focus remained on making the best of things, and he was pushing hard to make it happen. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Bottas said:
"Theoretically, I still have a chance. But if I can’t be champion, let it be Lewis.”
With Bottas already 110.5 points behind Max Verstappen, it's safe to say that his title aspirations are a tad optimistic. More crucially, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are going to need every ounce of support that Bottas can muster in the next six races.
With just six races left, Mercedes are looking like the favorites, thanks in no small part to their power upgrade. Hamilton would more than welcome Bottas working as a bottleneck between him and Max whenever there's an opportunity to increase the buffer to the Red Bull driver.
Is Lewis Hamilton the favorite for the title?
Ever since the summer break, there has been a switch in terms of relative competitiveness. Mercedes seem to have found an extra step in terms of straight-line speed and have enjoyed an advantage over Red Bull on most circuits.
This was more than evident at the Turkish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton, despite running a higher downforce setup, was still amongst the fastest drivers on the grid in terms of straight-line speed.
Even Red Bull's head of driver development Helmut Marko has openly stated that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will be the outright favorites on at least four of the six remaining tracks.
Hamilton himself is not too far behind Max Verstappen in terms of points. Without there being no foreseeable need to pick up any more power unit-related penalties, it's going to be a straight fight between the two men. And despite Hamilton and Mercedes seemingly having the upper hand, it won't be easy to predict who will come out on top among two of the best drivers on the grid.