The unprecedented achievement of an unbeaten Formula 1 campaign remains on for Red Bull, but could familiar foe Lewis Hamilton shatter that dream?
12 rounds have come and gone in F1 2023 and no other team has had an answer for Red Bull, their star driver and runaway Championship leader Max Verstappen hoovering up 10 of those wins, with team-mate Sergio Perez collecting the other two.
Rivals then have 10 more opportunities to deny Red Bull a clean sweep, the dominant Austrian outfit already re-writing the record books with their current run of 13 victories on the bounce.
Lewis Hamilton to snap Red Bull streak?
Guest on the latest On Track GP podcast Rachael Downie does not believe Red Bull are home and dry on an unbeaten F1 2023 yet, despite the sheer dominance of their RB19 challenger over the chasing pack.
Instead, she believes Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion Hamilton, who lost out to Verstappen on the last lap of the 2021 season after an epic title battle, still has what it takes to return to the top step of the podium.
Hamilton, alongside Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, are the only non-Red Bull drivers to have claimed a pole position in F1 2023.
“I still want to believe, as crazy as this sounds, Hamilton will be on the top step before the end of the season,” she said on the latest edition of the On Track GP podcast.
“I want to believe that. I think he’s capable of it.”
Podcast host Coilin Higgins admitted that to him, Hamilton going winless in F1 2022, for the first time in a season of his Formula 1 career, “didn’t feel right”.
“I’ve said on this channel a few times, even though I’ve never really been a fan of Hamilton, I have to say last year, the fact that he didn’t win a race, it didn’t feel right,” he said.
Lewis Hamilton “different class” to Max Verstappen
With Hamilton having set his sights on a record-breaking eighth World title, he faces an enormous task to reel in the new dominant force on the block in Formula 1 in Verstappen.
Of course, Hamilton’s Mercedes team has a huge part to play in that, with their 2022 challenger, the W13, and now the W14 not up to the standard of a title challenge, the Silver Arrows looking to recapture form having reeled off eight successive Constructors’ titles between 2014-21.
And Downie, describing Hamilton as the “whole package”, believes he is a driver in a “different class” to Verstappen who is being held back by his machinery.
“Hamilton is just a different class of driver I personally think,” she said.
“And we have seen glimmers of what he’s capable of doing. He’s the whole package, it’s just that car.”
This was just one topic of discussion from an engaging new edition of the On Track GP podcast which you can watch below in full, and don’t forget to head over and subscribe to On Track GP’s YouTube channel, launched in collaboration with DR Sports, to see our full collection of videos from the season so far.