Lewis Hamilton makes blunt Red Bull pace prediction after latest dominant showing

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fist bump

Lewis Hamilton greets the Red Bull drivers at the 2024 photo call

Winning the Bahrain Grand Prix by an impressive 22s in a Red Bull 1-2, Lewis Hamilton fears there’s no beating the RB20, especially in the hands of Max Verstappen.

Only two-tenths up in qualifying for the season-opening race, rivals were given some hope that maybe Red Bull weren’t as good as expected.

Lewis Hamilton’s worrying assessment of Red Bull’s pace

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Verstappen quashed that on the opening lap at the Sakhir circuit as he made short work of Charles Leclerc’s one attempt to get by him before going on to win the race by 22s ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez.

The nearest non-Red Bull driver was Carlos Sainz who was 25s off the pace.

Given that last season Verstappen won the Bahrain GP by a measly, at least by Saturday’s standards, 12s, Hamilton fears the Milton Keynes squad will be winning “everything” for a while.

“I feel good, I don’t feel downbeat,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com. “I think a super average race.

“And I think once I go back and see this time of the Red Bulls that will add to that. You know, they’re going to win everything for a while.”

His team-mate George Russell agrees, saying: “Max is the favourite. I don’t think anyone is going to be fighting him for the championship this year, but I hope some people are going to be battling for victories here or there.”

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Lewis Hamilton backs Mercedes to close the gap

Russell finished the Grand Prix in fifth place while Hamilton, whose charge was hampered by a battery problem, brought his W15 home in seventh place.

However, there were encouraging words from the seven-time World Champion who believes Mercedes are on a better footing than they were last year.

“What I feel is that the last couple of years, we’ve had all these problems and we spent several races undoing all those problems, trying to figure out what those problems were, as opposed to now we have a platform that we can start adding to,” he said.

“So now it’s a building process from here and I think we’re a great team at doing that.”

As for where Mercedes are in the pecking order, he said: “Too early to tell. I think the set-up wasn’t ideal today and we’re very close to McLarens.

“But if I had qualified better I would probably easily have finished fifth today even with the problems. So take that out of it, and I probably wouldn’t have been crazy far behind a Ferrari but we’re still third quickest.”

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