Lewis Hamilton believes the Honda power unit is close to rivalling the Mercedes and Ferrari engines.
The Honda-powered Red Bull RB15 was able to find a way past Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne and put Max Verstappen on the podium alongside the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and race winner Valtteri Bottas.
While Ferrari’s issues have been very well documented, Hamilton also feels Honda have been making great strides with their engine.
“Without doubt, the Red Bulls have a much better power unit this year,” said Hamilton.
“I think their engine performance is very, very close.
“I believe it’s within 10bhp or something of the top cars.
“If you look at their GPS speed on the straights, they’re pretty much just as quick as us.
“That’s a great start for them and I really hope the reliability’s strong for them so they can be really in the fight.”
Hamilton also claimed that Mercedes’ dominance in Melbourne was down to a stroke of good fortune with the set-up.
He added: “We’re still learning about it. As we mentioned in testing it really wasn’t great to start off with.
“But we found a window in which it works a lot better.
“We were very, very fortunate to come across that. If we hadn’t discovered that in testing, we probably wouldn’t have had the same results we did in the first race.
“That was really hard work from everyone collectively. It is a better car but it’s not perfect, there are still areas we are working on. But it’s a really great platform for us moving forward.
“We do understand the car a lot better particularly from testing, the positive two days, and obviously the race weekend. Now we’re moving in a really positive direction.”
Hamilton also said it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions with regards to the true structure of Formula 1’s pecking order.
“Every track offers something different,” he said.
“The last track was very similar to Barcelona in the sense of we use maximum downforce, this is different again as it’s very hot here and brings different characteristics.
“I don’t feel like any of these races that we have coming up show one similarity.
“They are all different in their own ways and it takes several races to fully understand where everyone stands, whether a car works on every circuit you can’t tell from two. It takes a few races at least.”
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