Patrick: It’s not so straightforward this year

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Danica Patrick says that the title fight is not so straightforward this year, as she weighs in on the Formula 1 title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Sky Sports F1 has announced that Patrick will be joining its team of pundits and reporters for the 2021 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

Patrick was previewing the upcoming F1 race in Austin this weekend with Sky F1, and gave her opinion about this year’s title rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen.

“I think it’s cool,” Patrick said, “and it’s going to make me more interested to watch more of them! Because there’s something to watch.

“If I’m encapsulating the series – F1, Indycar and NASCAR let’s say – F1 it seems like it’s the manufacturers are what matters and everybody just kind of falls into line in the race, and then in IndyCar it can be a little bit more mixed up, maybe there’s a little bit more passing and then NASCAR there’s even more.”

The American who retired from racing in 2018 is relishing the uncertainty of this year’s title fight between the young gun and the old guard.

“So I love the fact that it’s not so straightforward this year,” she said, “that you’ve got two teams going at it, which is cool because you don’t have to worry about any kind of team orders, any kind of crap, you’re just going to get the true duo happening.

“I think it makes it really interesting and I love that Max is this young driver,” Patrick went on, “he’s been around for a few years for sure, but he’s still the young driver and Lewis is the guy going for the official GOAT medal of most wins, most poles and most championships this year, so I’m sure he really wants to win his eighth.

“Then you have got someone who’s just dying to make that not happen for him and he’s young and hungry. It’s very interesting to watch,” she admitted.

However Patrick is not surprised that the two title contenders have had their fair share of crashes this year.

“Whenever there’s more on the line there’s more risks taken,” she explained. “So probably at the beginning of the season, Lewis was pretty used to winning and as it’s gone on and on, he’s been like ‘wow, you’ve gone on that stretch of track’.

“He maybe knew that if he’s going to win that eighth championship, it’s not going to be so straightforward,” Patrick pointed out.

“You’re seeing more desperation and more passion. These are drivers that want the same thing and only one can have it.

“So you’re seeing more of the more competitive nature come out which is always exciting to watch as a fan,” she concluded.

Patrick was the only female winner of an IndyCar race, as she won the 2008 Indy Japan 300, and she was also the first woman to take pole position in NASCAR with her famous pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013.