Only Bottas can stop Lewis, say Ferrari pair

Lewis Hamilton leads the Formula One world championship after three races, and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas already looks like the only man who can deny the British driver a record-equalling seventh title.

That at least is the view of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, whose own hopes of building on last year's challenge have melted away.

Hamilton dominated Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position, with a bonus point for fastest lap, to take a five-point lead over Bottas, the winner of the Austrian season opener.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen is third overall, 30 points off the lead.

Asked whether they could see a scenario in which Hamilton might not be champion at the completion of the year, Vettel and Leclerc agreed it was unlikely.

"I think [only] if Valtteri wins the championship," said the German driver, himself a four-times world champion.

"I think Lewis is obviously the main contender," Leclerc added. "The only one that could probably stop him doing that is Valtteri."

Mercedes, winners of the past six drivers' and constructors' championships, have started 2020 with three victories and three poles and are 66 points clear of closest rivals Red Bull.

Hamilton, fourth in the opener at the Red Bull Ring, has won two in a row, and the next races are at his home Silverstone circuit.

Bottas has a win, a second place and a third -- in that order -- and blew Sunday's race at the start. The Finn started stronger last campaign and still ended up far behind his teammate by the end.

The only others on the podium have been Leclerc, McLaren's Lando Norris and Verstappen -- with the first two both having failed to score this past Sunday.

Although Hamilton saw no danger of the championship becoming a procession, he said he would like more of a battle.

"I think the Red Bulls have been doing a great job, and I'm sure at some stage they're going to make some improvements as we get into the season," he said.

"I'm hopeful we will still find some challenges up ahead."