Hamilton’s W05 looked strong and reliable in pre-season testing, with the Mercedes team completing the most laps of anyone. With the first round of the new season just around the corner, Herbert believes the Brit could claim his second title.
“I’m going to go Lewis because I think he is very hungry for it, for sure,” he told invited media at the Sky Sports F1 press day. “He has one world championship and I know that isn’t enough for him so he is hungry to get that one. I think he has the car underneath him to do that. He hasn’t had it as easy as everyone expected against Nico. I think Nico’s credibility has gone up a lot more.
“With the new powertrain that we have got, the ERS and the engines, we will have to see with the tyres as I think they have been quite conservative so far. That has been their Achilles heel for the last two years, has that been fixed? That is probably my only question. They have the speed; reliability doesn’t seem to be an issue. They have got the drivers, now it is just knowing if they are not going to chew them up with a package that has four times more torque.”
When asked which driver pairing he is most looking forward to watching in 2014, he replied: “Probably McLaren, we have the old man of the moment, Jenson, and then you have got the young man, Magnussen. He seems to have settled in so far from what we have seen so far in testing and I think it is going to be a close battle.” But could the Danish rookie win races in 2014? “I think there is a chance, if the car is good enough,” he replied. “The way he has adapted has been, for me, not a surprise.”
Herbert will be joined on the Sky Sports F1 punditry team by Bruno Senna. The former Lotus and Williams driver will join David Croft in the commentary box for practice sessions and offer analysis with the presentation team at seven of the 19 rounds of the 2014 championship.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic