Former Williams engineer Rob Smedley is backing Lewis Hamilton over Max Verstappen for the world title, believing the Mercedes driver will prevail in Abu Dhabi thanks to his experience.
Verstappen leads Hamilton in the Driver's standings by 12 points ahead of this weekend's round of racing in Mexico City and with five races to go.
As the power grab game continues between Mercedes and Red Bull, with the advantage switching camps depending on the venue, Smedley believes that if all was equal between the two contenders, Hamilton would be his man.
"I’ve got to go with Lewis, because he’s done it seven times before," said the former Williams and Ferrari race engineer on the latest F1 Nation podcast
"Now, that’s not to take anything away from Max, because Max is a once in a generation talent.
"But I think that Lewis has learned more of his craft than Max – just like anybody, he’s just been doing it longer than Max.
"He’s done it seven times before, so if they were in identical cars with identical tyres and all the rest of it for the five remaining races, I would still back Lewis at this point in time."
Smedley's new role this year as Formula 1's director of data working with Amazon Web Services has given him a massive amount of insight into the performance of the sport's two front-running teams.
While casting his vote in favour of Hamilton on the drivers' front, Smedley clearly pointed to Red Bull as fielding the better car this season compared to Mercedes.
"If I was going to go for car, I would go for the Red Bull," said the Briton. "I think it’s a slightly better car and it has been a better car all season.
"I read something over the weekend where Helmut Marko has said that Max has given away 50 points or something like that.
"Now, I don’t know whether that’s true. If you take the races where he hasn’t finished, it might not be a net 50 points compared to Lewis, but it’s certainly quite a few points that he’s given away.
"I think that they’ve had the best car. I think they had a significantly better car at the start of the season, and they’ve probably, it’s fair to say, failed to capitalise on that.
"But then, as the season’s gone on, they’ve still kept that small advantage. It’s swung Mercedes’ way on occasions but, overall, they’ve still had the best car."