Formula One: Marko backs Vettel to pip Hamilton to title

Sebastian Vettel has the edge over Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One world championship, according to his former mentor Helmut Marko.

Helmut Marko has backed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to get the better of Lewis Hamilton and win the Formula One world championship this year.

Marko was heavily involved in the Red Bull driver development programme that saw Vettel come through the ranks and become a four-time world champion.

Vettel's success with the team ended in 2013 when he left for Ferrari, with Mercedes having since become the sport's dominant force. 

Things look different in 2017, however, with Vettel winning the opening race in Australia and finishing second in Shanghai last time out.

That has left the German level with Mercedes' Hamilton on 43 points at the top of the drivers' standings, something Marko is happy to see.

"It's a pleasure to watch him fight again," Marko told Sport Bild ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"I think he would have won the race in China if he did not have the bad luck with the safety car that came out at the wrong time."

And when asked to pick an eventual champion, Marko unsurprisingly went with his former protege.

"If I had to choose between the two, then I choose Vettel," he added.

"I know him and I know how you can trust him when he has smelled blood. He is also more connected to his car and his team."

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