The seven-time world champion got a first-hand glimpse of the kind of advantage that Red Bull has when Max Verstappen had little problem blasting past him during his Saudi Arabian Grand Prix recovery. 

Verstappen’s climb from 15th on the grid to second place behind team-mate Sergio Perez has highlighted the advantage that Red Bull has, and does nothing to quell belief that the Milton Keynes-based team is set for a truly dominant season. 

Hamilton, who eventually finished fifth in Jeddah, said he was amazed by the scale of the edge that Red Bull has over the competition this year. 

He reckoned that the gap Red Bull had to those behind was much greater than anything he and Mercedes had enjoyed during their dominant phases in the early turbo hybrid years. 

“I’ve definitely never seen a car so fast,” he said. “I think when we were fast, we weren’t that fast. I think it’s the fastest car I’ve seen, especially compared to the rest.” 

Sergio Perez at Saudi Arabian GP 2023

As well as proving to be super fast in cornering, Red Bull’s RB19 has proved to be extremely quick in a straightline too – especially when its DRS is open. 

That edge in top speed was critical in allowing Verstappen to scythe his way through the field during a recovery drive that got him close to team-mate Perez. 

Hamilton said that Verstappen’s advantage was so great on the straight that he knew, when the Dutchman was behind him, there was no point in even trying to defend his position. 

“I don’t know how or why, but he came past me with some serious speed,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t even bother to block because it was just a massive speed difference.” 

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell has already said that he expects Red Bull to win every race this season based on the advantage it has.  

Such a scenario could be bad news for F1’s bosses in terms of keeping fans interested if they know that only one team can win. 

Asked if he was worried that fans would get fed up of Red Bull taking all the glory, Hamilton said: “Of course, I think everyone wants to see everyone close, but it is the way it is. It’s not my fault.”  

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