Bernie Ecclestone picks Lewis Hamilton to beat Sebastian Vettel in F1 championship
Bernie Ecclestone thinks Lewis Hamilton is the clear favorite to win the 2017 Formula 1 championship. This is despite the fact that his friend and regular former backgammon partner Sebastian Vettel is actually leading the championship standings after three races.
“He (Vettel) called me to play a game in Bahrain,” the former F1 boss said to Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
When asked why Vettel is performing well in 2017, Ecclestone added it was simply a matter of time.
“He is more relaxed and has digested the shock,” Ecclestone said. “When he went to Ferrari, he thought he would immediately be world champion. But he is past that now.”
However, that doesn’t mean Ecclestone thinks Vettel will win Ferrari’s first title in a decade this year.
“Lewis will be world champion,” he said. “I would be happy if Vettel did, because he’s a good friend of mine. But things will change.
“Hamilton is so extremely talented, and he seems more relaxed this year, enjoying it more. In recent years, he always believed that the team (Mercedes) didn’t support him, because the other driver was a German in a German team. Of course this was nonsense, but this thought is gone now and the pressure is lower.”
As for whether he thinks Valtteri Bottas is a good enough replacement for the retired Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, Ecclestone said, “I don’t know. But I believe the team would be more pleased if Lewis becomes world champion, just for what he experienced last year.”