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With a record 95 race wins and a record-sharing seventh world title, Hamilton has done what many thought was unimaginable, occupy the same lofty pedestal as Michael Schumacher. The newly knighted Sir Lewis, who also has more pole positions and podiums than any other driver in the championship’s history, will now be favourite to earn the right to be considered Formula One’s GOAT with an eighth title in what could be his swansong.
Valtteri Bottas (Finland)
He has emerged as so much more than just a token teammate chasing crumbs off Hamilton’s plate, although he is still more often than not ‘fastest on Friday’ practice but not 48 hours later when it matters most. For Hamilton, Bottas “does his talking on the track, I have a huge respect for him”. That came after the Finn had deprived him of pole in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. He has signed, like Hamilton, a one-year contract extension until the end of this season.
Charles Leclerc (Monaco)
The Monegasque will be anticipating a better season than last, which shouldn’t be hard after a misfiring car contributed to the team’s worst performance in 40 years. He finished eighth, making the podium only twice, and will be anxious to forge new and altogether more positive memories with an improved car to capitalise on his prodigious talent.
Carlos Sainz (Spain)
He replaced two-time world champion Fernando Alonso at McLaren and now four-time champion Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari to form the team’s’ youngest pairing in the past 50 years. In Sainz Ferrari feel they have found an ideal fit for their family, pointing to his technical ability, talent and character. Last term Sainz came in sixth, with his new teammate two places behind.