Heidfeld sees Hamilton winning fourth F1 title in 2016

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Nick Heidfeld says Lewis Hamilton is the early favourite to win the 2016 F1 title, though the former grand prix racer adds that it would be good for the sport if another driver defeated the Briton.

Riding on the back of an all-conquering Mercedes chassis/power unit package, Hamilton has racked up 21 race wins over the past two seasons to join the elite club of triple world champions.

Although his team-mate Nico Rosberg finished the 2015 season on a high with a trio of consecutive wins, the ex-McLaren ace had sealed the crown with three races to spare.

“I would hope that we see some more teams doing well. We have not seen any testing yet,” Heidfeld told Indian publication The Statesman.

“I would guess it will be Hamilton again taking the championship, but I would be happy if someone else does it for the sake of the sport, to make it more interesting.”

Given their team’s dominance in the latest turbo era, both Mercedes drivers have been contesting for the title pretty much on their own with only Red Bull and Ferrari able to break the world champions’ hegemony since 2014.

“Ferrari did very well last season,” added Heidfeld, who served as Mercedes GP test driver in 2010. “Now Renault are back and they should be more of a front-runner.

“I doubt if they would do fantastic in their first year but they have shown in the past by winning many championships; they would definitely be a contender. Also, if they move up on engine technology, we all know that Red Bull has always had one of the best chassis so they could be there again.”

Heidfeld secured 13 F1 podiums in a career that spanned 12 years (2000-2011) and included spells at Prost, Sauber, Jordan, Williams, BMW, and Lotus Renault GP. The 38-year-old now competes in the World Endurance Championship with Rebellion and Formula E with Mahindra.

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