Hamilton tipped for F1 glory... at least his Mercedes will finish
British driver has the most reliable car on the grid as new rules leave Red Bull floundering
LEWIS HAMILTON'S move to Mercedes could pay off in spectacular fashion this season, thanks to the dramatic rule changes that promise to turn Formula 1 on its head in 2014.
The British driver endured an average first season with the German manufacturer, but is clear favourite to win this year's world title, ahead of the first Grand Prix of the year in Australia this weekend.
After years of domination by Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who have won the last four championships, massive rule changes have rendered the form book irrelevant. Mercedes are the team that has adapted best to the new F1 landscape, featuring new turbo hybrid engines, fuel limits and a reduction in aerodynamic downforce.
Even Red Bull boss Christian Horner has selected Hamilton as the man to beat, and admitted "the gap is massive" between his team and the German manufacturer.
"Never mind the talent of the driver, who was world champion in 2008; the obvious reason for Horner’s assessment is that Hamilton’s Mercedes team appear to have the fastest car for 2014 and the only one that appears likely to finish a race," explains Kevin Eason in The Times.
Another manufacturer, Williams, whose star had waned so badly that the team mustered just five points in the constructors' championship last season, are also tipped to challenge, while Hamilton's old team McLaren could also experience a turnaround in fortunes after a dismal 2013.
All three of those teams use Mercedes engines, while Red Bull rely on Renault.
"Mercedes have been the most impressive team in pre-season testing, completing the most miles, while Red Bull have had a torrid time with poor reliability and lacking performance from their Renault engine," explains the BBC.
Unsurprisingly, Hamilton is looking forward to the race in Melbourne and predicts an exciting season ahead.
He told the BBC that he had spoken to people who no longer watch F1, but was urging them to give it another go. "This is the year you need to watch because this is such a new year. So much is changing. So it's really going to be the most exciting year for any fan who is currently watching or who wants to start watching," he said.