Lewis Hamilton ‘pretty much unbeatable’ Max Verstappen warned ahead of Qatar Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has been branded “pretty much unbeatable” at the moment due to Mercedes’ new engine and the upgrades his team have made on their car. Hamilton produced one of the best victories of his illustrious Formula One career in Brazil last Sunday.

After qualifying first on Friday, Hamilton found himself stripped of P1 for Saturday’s sprint race due to a technical infringement.

The Briton however recovered brilliantly from starting last to finish P5 despite having just 24 laps to cut through the field.

Hamilton then started Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix in P10 due to a five-place grid penalty for an engine change.

Though title rival Max Verstappen stole an early lead from Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the 36-year-old again carved through the grid to set up a thrilling battle with the Red Bull driver.

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After running off the track into Turn 4 in a lap 48 tangle, Hamilton eventually got his way past Verstappen 11 laps later and ended 10 seconds clear of the Dutchman.

And after such an imperious display, former F1 driver and Sky Sports expert Brundle has dubbed the seven-time world champion near invincible heading to Qatar this weekend.

Writing in his Sky Sports column, Brundle said: “The intel leading up to the event suggested that Mercedes would introduce a further internal combustion engine into his pool, giving him two motors available for the remaining four races, and that proved to be accurate, along with a five-place grid penalty in Brazil.

“With effectively three new circuits to close out the season, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi expecting high top speeds, and given the power degradation with mileage which Merc have been suffering this season, it made sense.

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“Climbing the long hill up to turn one in Interlagos followed by the downhill run to turn four has always been one of the easier overtaking combinations in F1 over the decades.

“Honda’s power advantage at altitude circuits – it’s approaching 800 metres in Interlagos – has been diminished to an extent this season with some turbocharger changes by Mercedes.

“But a fresh motor and whatever secret Mercedes have found with their reduced drag and high maximum speeds have made Hamilton pretty much unbeatable. Despite everything.”

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Verstappen holds a 14-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the final three races of the season in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

And the 23-year-old remains optimistic about his chances of bouncing back at the next race this weekend at the Losail International Circuit.

He said: “Of course [I was surprised by Mercedes’ speed], I would have liked to be a little bit closer, but it just seemed very tough for us here.

“And of course [Mercedes] taking the new engine clearly gains them a bit of performance initially.

“But that will slowly come back to normal, maybe it looks a little bit more dramatic now but I’m confident that slowly that will be a bit more normal.”

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