Hamilton: 2023 Red Bull the most dominant F1 car I’ve ever seen

Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton says the 2023 Red Bull is “the fastest car I’ve seen compared to the rest” in Formula 1, arguing it’s more dominant than any Mercedes car he’s driven won the world championship.

Hamilton finished the opener to the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix 51 seconds down on the leaders Red Bull and 31 seconds back in Saudi Arabia, with the field being held back by a safety car period during the Jeddah race which ended on lap 20 , was bundled 50.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Grand Prix Race Day of Saudi Arabia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

He had Red Bull driver Max Verstappen start eight places off the grid in qualifying due to his driveshaft failure, but watched Verstappen pass easily on lap 12 – although Hamilton himself was struggling with a tougher compound at that point.

Hamilton said “it’s not for me to say” if there’s a risk of fans dropping out because of Red Bull’s dominance, but added: “I’ve definitely never seen a car that fast.

“When we were fast, we weren’t The fast. It’s the fastest car I think I’ve ever seen, especially compared to the others, I don’t know why or how, but he passed me at tremendous speed.

“I didn’t even bother to block because there was a massive difference in speed… yeah.”

Asked about the specter of cars not even fighting the Red Bulls because the pace difference is too big, Hamilton said: “Obviously I think everyone wants to see everyone up close, but that’s the way it is. Not my problem or fault.”

Team-mate George Russell made a similar assessment when speaking to UK broadcaster Sky, although he qualified it by noting that Red Bull wasn’t quite as dominant as Mercedes were at the start of the hybrid era.

“You have to give credit to Red Bull. The gap to the rest of the field is bigger in my opinion than we’ve probably seen since Mercedes in 2014,” said Russell.

“You know, it’s a serious gap, and I think everyone needs to keep working harder to understand how to bridge that gap.”

Mercedes won eight consecutive constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021, and drivers’ titles in the first seven of those years (six with Hamilton and one with Nico Rosberg).

Ferrari occasionally hinted at title challenges – notably in 2017 and 18 with Sebastian Vettel – but it wasn’t until Verstappen beat Hamilton for the 2021 title with Red Bull that Mercedes was truly threatened for the championship during that period.

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