Lewis Hamilton was left wondering how Red Bull are so fast in a straight line, after seeing Max Verstappen breeze by him during the Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton had led away after the first restart, with team-mate George Russell having had pitted prior to the race being red flagged for the first time, and kept Verstappen at bay for several laps in his Red Bull.
But he would not hold onto the lead for too long, with the two-time World Champion able to use DRS to his advantage on the way up to Turn 9 at Albert Park, pulling out of range of Hamilton to use the rear wing advantage in retaliation before the same lap had completed.
The Red Bull driver eventually built up a comfortable advantage over Hamilton and the rest of the field as the race progressed, and the ease with which he was able to get by the seven-time World Champion was reminiscent of how he did so in Saudi Arabia last time out – with Hamilton not putting up too much of a fight on either occasion.
The Mercedes driver stayed pragmatic about his team’s current performance relative to Red Bull, despite his podium finish at the weekend, well aware that there is a lot of work to be done to the W14 before the team will be able to match their 2021 title rivals, seeing their current fight as being with Aston Martin.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do clearly to catch the Red Bull because they came flying past and disappeared,” Hamilton admitted to Sky Sports F1 after the race.
“But I think this hopefully gives us a real boost of hope and energy. That it’s so early on in the season yet we’re there are thereabouts kind of so this is a message everyone should just dig deep keep pushing, because it’s not that far away and it’s relatively close to reach.
“Max is in another league,” he added of Red Bull’s performance specifically.
“His car is so fast, he passed me halfway down the straight and he was several metres ahead, like 10 metres ahead [before the corner], but I don’t know how they’re so quick on the straight – it’s just insane.
“So they’re just in another league and until we pick up speed on the straight like they have, and have the crazy downforce that they have through the corners, that’s how it’s going to continue.
“But I think for the others, I think if we continue to work together, we can definitely fight the Ferraris and the Red Bulls.
“The battle is really with Fernando right now. I enjoyed racing with him, it was very reminiscent of my first race here in 2007.”