Lewis Hamilton refuses to fight Max Verstappen and raises major concerns over Red Bull car | F1 | Sport
Lewis Hamilton has admitted he “didn’t bother” trying to fight Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Verstappen approached the back of Hamilton after just 12 laps as the Dutchman battled his way through the field from P15.
However, in contrast to the pair’s epic duels of the past, this one lasted just a matter of seconds as the Red Bull star cruised past. With the help of DRS, he pulled alongside Hamilton down the main straight and completed the move into turn one.
After the race, Hamilton claimed Red Bull’s pace advantage is bigger than Mercedes’ advantage was at the height of their turbo-hybrid era dominance.
Hamilton explained: “I have definitely never seen a car so fast. When we were fast, we were not that fast. It is the fastest car I have seen, especially compared to the rest.
“I don’t know how, but he [Verstappen] came past me with some serious speed and I didn’t even bother to block him because there was a massive speed difference. Everyone wants to see a close battle, but it is the way it is. It is not my problem, it is not my fault.”
During the move, Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle had claimed Hamilton was likely to have saved some extra pace in a bid to fend off the 25-year-old. He said: “I’m pretty sure Leis would have saved some battery as well to use in a defensive mode there.”
Red Bull’s advantage over Mercedes was again highlighted later in the race as Verstappen made light work of George Russell. Brundle likened the Silver Arrows to a “midfield car” while David Croft likened the speed to “F1 against F2”.
Hamilton struggled in Jeddah with the seven-time champion finishing P5 behind Russell. The Silver Arrows were still slower than the Aston Martins but did have the pace to finish ahead of the Ferraris.
Hamilton added: “(We are) still a long, long way off Red Bull. (It’s) definitely strange to see that Ferrari are behind us and it’s positive for us.
“It’s a different surface here and we don’t really understand why on this surface our car works one way and different on another. It will be up and down through the first three races. Hopefully, we can get some upgrades ASAP and try to close that gap to the Astons.”