Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton doubts Red Bull have slipped away from F1’s pinnacle, despite their poor showing in Singapore.
Red Bull’s failure to trouble the leaders for the win in Singapore hasn’t convinced Lewis Hamilton that the runaway championship leaders are no longer the standard-setters in Formula 1.
Having won every race so far in 2023, neither Max Verstappen nor Sergio Perez were ever in contention for the win, or even a podium, at Marina Bay – any chance of a recovery to the podium being ruined by an early Safety Car that scuppered their alternative strategy gamble.
Lewis Hamilton asserts Red Bull’s dominance hasn’t faded
While this race weekend failed to work out for Red Bull, Hamilton said he has a suspicion as to why the leaders weren’t on form in Singapore – saying the Milton Keynes-based team have their focus already on 2024.
“I don’t really know why they’re off, pace-wise,” he said.
“But I think it’s great to see that others, like [McLaren and Ferrari] have picked up a huge amount of pace.
“It’s great to see that Ferrari have really stepped it up, and I think it’s a positive. Probably, if you think about it, they haven’t been developing. Obviously, McLaren brought an upgrade here, others are bringing up upgrades.
“They’re working on next year’s car so… they have less wind tunnel time, so they’re probably using some of this year’s for next year’s, they would have definitely migrated before us.
“So no, I think it’s just one of the things. They’re so clear ahead that maybe they’re developing their car less and we are still pushing to develop our current one. But time will tell.”
Carlos Sainz: Singapore shows the potential F1 has
With the race evolving into a three-team battle between Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes, race winner Carlos Sainz says it shows what F1 might develop into once Red Bull’s advantage is overhauled by their rivals.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they still win the last few races of the season,” said the Spaniard.
“I think Singapore gave us the chance and we used it well. But I still think they’re gonna be up there for the remainder of this season and they’re going to be very, very, very, very difficult to beat.
“I just think it’s great for F1 if Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin – if we were all that two to three-tenths quicker every race to challenge them in race pace.
“The racing this year would be incredible, it would be eight drivers fighting for wins like we saw today with four or five guys out there fighting for a win around a street track.
“So it just shows the potential F1 has to create an incredible show. But it’s true that Red Bull have nailed the car this year and they are doing such an amazing job.
“They deserve to win everything that they’re winning. Obviously, I’m dreaming a bit about what F1 could be if we would all catch up a bit on them in the second half of the season and next year.”