Briatore backs Hamilton to win title

Flavio Briatore (ITA). Yas Marina Circuit.

With Ferrari having taken the lead in the both of the drivers and constructors championships, Mercedes has admitted that it is facing its toughest season yet in its bid to retain its Formula 1 crown.

But while the Italian squad looks to have the upper hand approaching the midway point of the 2018 season, former Benetton and Renault team principal Flavio Briatore is still putting his money on Lewis Hamilton to come out on top.

"Just because of the bad luck that Mercedes has had during the last two races, Ferrari have been given the opportunity to get a head start," he told Italian Radio Capital this week.

"Ferrari have a chance to win again, but only if Lewis Hamilton is going to make mistakes."

Briatore said that in his view, the remaining 11 races of the current campaign would increasingly tip more toward Hamilton.

"Hamilton is just stronger than Vettel," was Briatore's opinion.

"Sebastian has to fight a lot more to get his car under control. Lewis has found his rhythm in the WO9, making it easier for him."

The Italian had previously suggested that the SF71H was now a match for its Mercedes counterpart.

"This Ferrari is better than the last," he told Italy's Rai radio in April. "I would say that it is on par with the Mercedes."

Briatore also said that he felt Ferrari needed to shake things up if they wanted to win the constructors title in 2019. In particular, he felt it was time for Maranello to give Kimi Raikkonen his marching orders.

He added that it was time the team took a chance and gave current Sauber rookie driver Charles Leclerc to show what he can do in top-tier equipment.

"Put Kimi Raikkonen aside and replace him for Leclerc," was Briatore's forthright suggestion. "Otherwise, you will never again win the constructors.

"If you take that risk, as a Ferrari you can participate in that fight again," he insisted.

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