Smedley, who was Felipe Massa’s race engineer at Ferrari and head of performance engineering at Williams before taking on a technical consultant role at F1, has weighed in on the 2021 title fight. 

Verstappen heads into this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix holding a 12-point lead over Hamilton. With five races remaining, there are still 133 points left up for grabs. 

Speaking to the F1 Nation Podcast, Smedley backed Hamilton to overcome Verstappen. He also reckons the seven-time world champion would have the upper hand if they were in a straight fight in equal machinery.

“I’ve got to go with Lewis, because he’s done it seven times before,” Smedley replied when asked who he feels will be crowned world champion. 

“Now, that’s not to take anything away from Max, because Max is a once in a generation talent, but I think that Lewis has learned more of his craft than Max – just like anybody, he’s just been doing it longer than Max.

“He’s done it seven times before, so if they were in identical cars with identical tyres and all the rest of it for the five remaining races, I would still back Lewis at this point in time.”

Smedley thinks Red Bull has had a better car than Mercedes for the majority of the campaign and has failed to capitalise on having a “significant” advantage at the start of the year. 

“If I was going to go for car, I would go for the Red Bull,” he explained. “I think it’s a slightly better car and it has been a better car all season.

“I read something over the weekend where Helmut Marko said that Max has given away 50 points or something like that. Now, I don’t know whether that’s true.

“If you take the races where he hasn’t finished, it might not be a net 50 points compared to Lewis, but it’s certainly quite a few points that he’s given away.

“I think they’ve had the best car since, I think they had a significantly better car at the start of the season. They’ve probably, I think it’s fair to say, failed to capitalise on that but as the season has gone on they’ve still kept that small advantage.

“It’s swung Mercedes’ way on occasions but overall they’ve still had the best car.”