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Chandhok: Verstappen could have been leading Hamilton by 50 points

The former Formula 1 driver feels that Max Verstappen could have built a sizeable lead in the Drivers' Championship and is wary of the threat Mercedes will pose in the coming events.

Formula 1 pundit Karun Chandhok believes Max Verstappen could have built a 50-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship if he had not suffered any misfortune this season. Hamilton has a lead of eight points over Verstappen heading into this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps and Chandhok thinks the Red Bull driver has been very unfortunate so far. "Max has had more bad luck," Chandhok told Sky Sports. "You could point to races such as Baku where he lost 25 points when he had a tyre blow out. He got taken out by Valtteri Bottas in Budapest, another 15 points probably lost there. "And Silverstone of course, that big incident there when he lost all of the points, and Lewis went on to win the race. Another 18 [points lost]. "There's a big haul of points there that Max and Red Bull left on the table, 58 [points] in fact, so they could have been leading by 50 [points]. "They will have that in mind but they will certainly be wary of the threat coming from Mercedes as the season progresses." The championship has ebbed and flowed over the first 11 events and Chandhok says he has crunched the numbers to find out there has been nothing to separate Mercedes and Red Bull at the halfway mark of the season. "Only 0.03 percent is the difference between the two cars across the first part of the season," said Chandhok. "[There is] nothing between the two cars in their qualifying outright performances. "Critically, though, Lewis Hamilton [has been] on pole for the last two races, so that will be a bit of a worry for Red Bull. Clearly, in Budapest, Mercedes had taken a step forward and was the best car."