Hamil­ton turns up the heat on team- mate

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT -

Lewis Hamil­ton has ramped up the pres­sure on Valt­teri Bot­tas by chal­leng­ing him to prove his cham­pi­onship cre­den­tials, writes Philip Dun­can.

Hamil­ton goes into to­mor­row’s Span­ish Grand Prix trail­ing his team- mate by a sin­gle point. The Mercedes pair have two vic­to­ries apiece but Bot­tas heads the stand­ings by virtue of his fastest lap at the open­ing round in Aus­tralia.

Bot­tas, a win­ner last time out in Azer­bai­jan, con­tin­ued his strong start to the cam­paign by com­plet­ing a prac­tice dou­ble at Barcelona’s Cir­cuit de Catalunya yes­ter­day.

Hamil­ton was just five- hun­dredths of a sec­ond slower, with the Fer­rari duo of Charles Le­clerc and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel a third of a sec­ond fur­ther back, third and fourth re­spec­tively.

Al­though Bot­tas has been quick out of the blocks in 2019, Hamil­ton does not tra­di­tion­ally come alive un­til the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

Nat­u­rally, there are doubts as to whether the Finn will be able to last the course of a 21- round cam­paign.

“Win­ning t he cham­pi­onship is not just about win­ning a cou­ple of races,” said Hamil­ton, pic­tured.

“It is about the whole sea­son. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how he goes in the harder con­di­tions. We’ve only had four races so watch this space.”

Vet­tel will be des­per­ate to en­sure it does not be­come a oneteam fight for the ti­tle. But the Fer­rari driver has al­ready been cast 35 points adrift, and de­spite boast­ing an en­gine up­grade for the first round of the Euro­pean sea­son here, he fin­ished prac­tice a third of a sec­ond off the pace.

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