Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen has one hand already on the 2022 Drivers’ World Championship, with the Dutchman having an emphatic 80-point advantage over Charles Leclerc.
Whilst the margin means Verstappen can sit out the entire triple-header that takes place after the summer break, and still have at least a two-point lead, ex-F1 driver David Coulthard has sent the Dutchman a serious warning.
Coulthard is certain the championship isn’t over yet, with the former Red Bull Racing driver expecting the Mercedes F1 Team to have a major impact in the second half of the season.
The Silver Arrows have worked relentlessly hard to fight their way back to the front this season, after suffering from a number of issues at the start of the season; however, after two consecutive double podiums for the team, they are certainly back in the fight for victory.
Whilst neither George Russell nor fierce 2021 rival Sir Lewis Hamilton will win the title, both can impact Verstappen’s fight with Leclerc.
Hamilton has finished on the podium at the last five races, with the seven-time World Champion having finished P2 behind Verstappen at the last couple of events.
If Mercedes get in between Verstappen and Leclerc during the races, then this could see considerable points swings between the two.
This could also benefit Scuderia Ferrari, who need a miracle to claw back Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Italian’s are 97 points behind the Austrian team, with just nine races of the 22 remaining this season.
Mercedes will be eager to interrupt Verstappen’s form, with the German’s yet to claim a race victory this season.
Mercedes have won at least one race every season since 2012, whilst Hamilton has tasted victory in every campaign he’s competed in the championship.
With this in mind, Coulthard is expecting an “intriguing” second half of the season, with Mercedes “coming back” into the picture.
“I think it’s been a great season so far,” Coulthard told Dutch website RacingNews365.
“Ferrari have had probably the quicker qualifying car but Red Bull have had more reliability and faster race car.
“This championship looked like it was going to be nip and tuck after the first few races. But of course Max has now opened up a big lead. But it’s not over of course until it’s technically over.
“There will be a lot of intrigue I’m sure in the remaining second half of the season. Mercedes look like they’re coming back as well.”