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Is it Hamilton's title to lose?

Sky Sports Sky Sports 22/06/2016

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Even though Nico Rosberg leads the world championship, itis Lewis Hamilton who is the favourite to win the title, according to this week's F1 Report.

After winning the European Grand Prix in Baku, Mercedes' Rosberg extended his lead at the top of the championship to 24 points ahead of team-mate Hamilton.

But speaking on this week's F1 Report, former head of Cosworth Mark Gallagher believes it is Hamilton who is more likely to win the title this season.

"I think there's a consensus within Formula One that it's Lewis Hamilton's championship to lose, rather than Nico's to win," reckoned Gallagher.

"Nico has huge capability but I don't think there's anyone who doesn't feel that, in a straight fight, Lewis Hamilton will not have the edge over him - and it requires a problem for Lewis not to win a race, whether that problem is self-inflicted or whether there's a technical issue.

"Lewis will get the momentum back. With 13 races left, you have to say he will pick up a lot more wins."

The Times' Kevin Eason, joining Gallagher on The F1 Report alongside host Marc Priestley, believes Rosberg's Baku win did a lot for his confidence. 

"I'm not sure he's got enough in the bag, but the impetus is back with Nico," he said.

"He had a real spring in his step on Sunday night. I think if Lewis had won in Baku, I could see the steamroller picking up a bit of speed, but now it's open, so maybe Nico thinks he can do it."

Another hot topic in the paddock over the weekend in Azerbaijan was whether Sergio Perez could be heading for Ferrari, after a second podium in three races for the Force India driver.

Kimi Raikkonen's contract with Ferrari expires at the end of this season, but could Sebastian Vettel have a big say over who would replace Raikkonen, if Ferrari decided to release him?

Eason certainly thinks so.

"Sebastian will have the veto, there's no doubt about that. That's why Kimi is still there, because they're mates," he said.

Eason thinks Perez would be the "least worst option" as far as Vettel is concerned, with several drivers being linked with a potential seat - including Haas's Romain Grosjean and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. 

"Sebastian would veto outright Daniel Ricciardo, I would have said, and maybe even Verstappen. So my personal tip would be Perez."

Gallagher agrees, but thinks it's a shame that a Vettel-Ricciardo pairing is looking unlikely.

"It's such a shame that Vettel would maybe veto a great driver joining him. I think Verstappen joining Red Bull has reignited Daniel Ricciardo.

"If Ferrari want to have a kind of Schumacher era, with a clear number one and a very clear number two I actually think that holds everyone back."

Don't miss the F1 Report: Baku review on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday with Marc Priestley, Kevin Eason and Mark Gallagher.

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