I agree with you insofar as it's a wildcard whether Seb would have driven as poorly if he wasn't facing Hamilton. However, after the prior year (2017) I very much did expect Seb to lose to Hamilton even with a car advantage, because that's what I think happened in that year as well.sandman1347 wrote:The problem with this type of copy/paste thinking is that it does nothing to acknowledge the real differences between those circumstances. For example, going into last year, if you were told that Vettel would have the faster car than Hamilton more often than not as well as better reliability, would you have guessed that he would still lose the championship by 88 points? Would you have expected him to make so many costly driving errors? Probably not but that's what actually happened.Exediron wrote:I didn't say anything about him being better than Hamilton. I said I thought he could have beaten Vettel in the 2018 Mercedes. He and Lewis aren't the only two on the grid I think could have done that.FormulaFun wrote:So by that omission, based on what... 9 pressure free races he is now the best driver on the grid? even despite Hamilton driving near flawless for about 2 years straight now. I don't buy that.Exediron wrote:Not with the start he had, no. But I do think this year's Max would have pretty easily beaten Vettel last year -- assuming he could maintain this form in a genuine title-challenging car, of course.
This conversation is completely because of the hype from Austria which was only a thriller cus he made a mistake in the first place.
My gut feeling is that Max is on Lewis' level in terms of pace. More than that, we won't find out until/if they go head to head in comparable machinery.
You cannot simply say that Max would still perform exactly the same in a championship fight (his very first championship fight) as he is now when he is under no pressure at all. I've seen many a driver crumble or at least struggle under pressure. I saw Michael Schumacher resort to dirty tactics numerous times and I saw him nearly implode in 03' when the pressure was on. I saw Jenson Button go into a shell after winning 6 of the first 7 races in 09' and then not win another one for the rest of the year. The weight of the championship is a totally different beast and Max has never won a championship in any level of car racing. His one year in F3, Ocon won the title. Winning titles is it's own thing; completely separate from winning a race or setting a pole. You can't just make these copy/paste assumptions about it.
The idea that there are several drivers who could have beaten Vettel last year is based on the way Hamilton competed against him. It's based on Hamilton's ability to put pressure on him and then Vettel's subsequent mistakes under that pressure. I do not think that there are many other drivers, if any, who would have beaten Vettel to the title in Hamilton's place. There are only three on the grid last year who I would even give a chance (Alonso, Max and Dan). Would they have poached wins and pole positions when the car was weaker by virtue of being a lot stronger in the wet? Would they have basically gone the entire year without a significant mistake? Would they have made up for reliability issues like winning from 14th on the grid after an engine failure in qualifying? There are a whole lot of assumptions that you have to make to suggest that Verstappen or anyone else would have won the championship last year in the Mercedes and I wouldn't make any of them.
I think Hamilton is in Seb's head at this point: he knows he's the inferior driver between the two of them, and that leads to him over-driving and making mistakes. However, I can easily see the same happening with Max, once it becomes clear that Max is the quicker driver. Which I believe it would if they faced one another for a championship.
It should be noted on this subject that I have never rated Vettel very highly, and do not consider him in the same class as Hamilton.