Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone thinks no one will be able to challenge Lewis Hamilton next season.
New regulations for the F1 2017 season could well shake up the pecking order, but Ecclestone doesn’t think any team will be able to move ahead of reigning champions Mercedes.
With the Silver Arrows on the hunt for a second driver after Nico Rosberg’s shock F1 retirement, Ecclestone is worried no one will be able to compete with Hamilton next year.
Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein and Sebastian Vettel are just a few of the names linked to the seat.
While some have been discounted, Ecclestone feels whoever switches to Mercedes won’t be able to beat Hamilton in 2017.
Here’s what he said to Sky Sports News:
“I think nobody would want to buy tickets and go to watch a race or watch on television Lewis disappearing from us when the lights go off and probably lapping the field a couple of times.
“It would be bad for everybody and bad for Lewis as well, because I think he wants to win fair and wants to beat somebody.”
“I don’t think anybody is going to beat Lewis.”
Because something we all want to see is a run-away championship winner…
However, if anyone can beat Hamilton, Ecclestone thinks it’s going to be Red Bull’s Max Verstappen:
“Verstappen has been super. When I say nobody, maybe Max in that car could hurry Lewis along a little bit.
“I hope I’m completely wrong in my assessment of the championship with Lewis. I hope I am wrong and whoever goes and sits in the same team can beat him or hurry him up that he makes mistakes.
“My personal opinion is that it’s not going to happen. The problem is a simple one: the Mercedes team, engine, everything, is perfect and they’ve got the best driver in the world.”
Let’s hope he’s wrong and we do have a proper fight on our hands next season.