‘Lewis Hamilton never in sync with Mercedes car like Max Verstappen is at Red Bull’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) celebrate on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, 2023.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are at odds over Sprint weekends.

F1 commentator Peter Windsor believes Max Verstappen is in-sync with the Red Bull machinery to a level which Lewis Hamilton never had in the era of Mercedes dominance.

Verstappen is now well on his way to a third World Championship in succession, having scored his seventh win in a row and ninth of F1 2023 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton had pulled out a stellar lap to bag pole in the Mercedes W14, but Verstappen would go on to win by his biggest margin of the season so far come race day, 34 seconds up the road from P2 finisher Lando Norris.

Max Verstappen Red Bull “zone” trumps Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes

And during a YouTube livestream, Windsor was asked whether the difference between Red Bull and Norris’ McLaren team is so great, or if it is Verstappen responsible for putting such a gap between those challengers.

Windsor argues the latter is true, claiming that Verstappen is in tune with the Red Bull machinery beyond what Hamilton achieved when Mercedes were the unstoppable force from 2014-2020, Hamilton winning six World titles in that time.

“Part of the problem is that Max does such a good job, and did such a good job in Hungary, that he was able to extend the stints to such a point where in the back-half of the race, his tyres are 10 laps newer than anybody else’s,” said Windsor.

“And that’s how he wins these grands prix making it look so incredibly easy.

“If McLaren are out of their sweet spot with [tyre] temperatures, would Lando be as able to make the McLaren look as good as it would, could, by just the way he drives the car and manages the temperatures?

“My guess is no, I think Max does a better job than probably anybody else right now in that, because he’s been in this zone of working with Red Bull and the car and understanding the car and what to feel and what not to feel for a long time now.

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“I’m not sure Lewis has ever been that in-sync with the car for such a sustained level. He’s had a great car for many years, but there’s always been another driver who is quick in the Mercedes basically, even Valtteri [Bottas] occasionally got the best of him.

“And I think with Red Bull there’s so much direct Adrian Newey-Max Verstappen relationship that he’s got this sort of incredible feel for how to drive the car when things aren’t quite right.”

With just the Belgian Grand Prix to go before Formula 1’s summer break, Verstappen has already created a 110-point gap over team-mate Sergio Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

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