Hamilton: Red Bull RB19 is ‘most dominant F1 car I’ve seen’

Lewis Hamilton admits he’s astonished by the speed of Red Bull’s 2023 car, insisting it’s the most dominant machine he’s ever seen in F1.

For the second time in two races and after Bahrain, Red Bull crushed its rivals with a hegemonic performance in Saudi Arabia.

But this time it was Sergio Perez who took top spoils while Max Verstappen carved his way through the field to finish second after starting a lowly 15th due to his retirement from Q2 on Saturday.

On his way to his runner-up spot, Verstappen sparred briefly with Hamilton during the pair’s first stint. And the Mercedes driver witnessed up close the extraordinary pace and balance of Red Bull’s superior machine.

“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.”

Red Bull’s new-spec car is blistering fast all-round, in the corners thanks to its downforce but all on the straights where its aerodynamics are just as efficient. And for good measure, in both cases the car’s advantage isn’t to the detriment of its tyres.

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

    Read also: Hamilton ‘would have been better’ with Russell’s set-up

Mercedes’ race in Jeddah delivered to the team a double-points finish, with George Russell and Hamilton concluding their day respectively fourth and fifth.

While the Brackley squad was unable to reduce its gap to Red Bull, the team’s W14 enjoyed a clear edge in race trim over Ferrari’s SF-23 challenger, a fact that surprised Hamilton.

“It was] definitely strange to see Ferrari were behind us, positive for us,” noted the seven-time world champion.

“[It’s a] different surface here and we don’t really understand why this surface and our car works in one way and it’s different in another.

“Lots of positives to take from this weekend, it will be up and down throughout the first few races, hopefully we can get some upgrades as soon as possible and try and close that gap to the faster cars.”

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