1996 world champion Damon Hill believes that Sir Lewis Hamilton is going to be in with a shout of victory at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The 37-year-old came back from his winter break to a car that had inherent problems under the new technical regulations.
The unique sidepod design was causing issues aerodynamically, and the turbulence was causing the car to bounce violently off the track surface.
The “porpoising” phenomenon has cost Hamilton and George Russell time on the straight, and attempts to raise the ride height have only affected their pace in the corners.
As a result, the seven-time champion was asked to experiment with different set-ups, which included removing sensors from the car to save weight.
However, the Silver Arrows have started to work their way around the bouncing problems, and the British drivers have scored eight podiums between them in the last six rounds.
Such have been the pace improvements since the first eight races of the season – during which Hamilton scored one of his six podiums – that Mercedes are starting to look dead level on race pace with Ferrari and Red bull.
Therefore, if championship leader Max Verstappen fails to win this weekend, Hill is putting his money on Hamilton to take advantage.
“I think it’s going to be Lewis,” he said on the F1 Nation podcast.
“I think if it’s going to be anyone other than the obvious, you know Max Verstappen victory, then I think I’m going to plump for Lewis because I feel in my bones he is going win a race this year.
“I just think it could be situations at Spa that could fall into his into his into his lap a little bit.
“He’s won there four times and teams make a big thing of momentum going into the summer break, don’t they?
“Well, Mercedes had that because they would have had a front row lockout in Hungary had Hamilton not had that DRS problem in qualifying so they had the momentum.”
Hamilton’s last win in Spa came in 2020, adding to previous victories in 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Admittedly, his McLaren and Mercedes cars were more adept to winning races than the W13 has been, but that could change.
The new regulations this weekend will prevent teams from running moving skid blocks, and there could be an enforced raised ride height for teams that are found to be bouncing too much.
If any of those changes do end up affecting Red Bull and Ferrari, who have both insisted they will not, then it could bring Mercedes back into play.
However, Hill goes even further than that, and suggests that the likes of Alpine and McLaren could even come into play if the changes affect all of the top three.
“And with that slight rule change which should peg back Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes,” he stated.
Mercedes head into this weekend 30 points behind second-placed Ferrari, whose title bid has derailed in the last couple of rounds.