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Why Hamilton leads Verstappen: In equal machinery, the driver makes the difference

After four races Lewis Hamilton sits atop the 2021 drivers' standings with rival Max Verstappen sitting in second. Given how close Mercedes and Red Bull have been in terms of performance, Karun Chandhok believes the Brit's ability has been the difference.

Although some have questioned just how integral he's been to Mercedes' success in the past, F1 pundit Karun Chandhok believes Lewis Hamilton is showing why he's a seven-time world champion in his fight with Max Verstappen this season. Red Bull were viewed by many as the team to beat heading into the season opener in Bahrain, but that didn't stop the Brit and Mercedes from taking top spot. That trend continued at the Spanish GP with Hamilton winning his third race of the season compared to Verstappen's one, which came at Imola. Chandhok believes that given how close Red Bull and Mercedes are in terms of performance in 2021, it's Hamilton's ability that has him first in the drivers' standings. "In roughly equal machinery, the driver then makes that last bit of difference and he has been exceptional this year," Chandhok said on Sky Sports F1. "We've been massively impressed and excited to see Red Bull and Max in the fight, but Lewis has won three of the first four races. It's super impressive to see him. "When you think that he's won seven world championships, he's won everything, he's got money, he's got everything in life, but he's still able to find that motivation, that eighth gear and keep going." Former F1 world champion Jenson Button believes Hamilton's performance this season are a clear indication he's confident in his abilities. "I think he's also got a lot more confidence in himself," said Button. "As racing drivers we're confident in our ability but we're quite insecure, and Lewis is no different. "It's great to see him with true confidence in his ability. He's the one that's impressed me more out of the two this year."

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