Lewis Hamilton insists it’s ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ to keep up with Red Bull and says Mercedes have ‘no answer’ to dominant rivals… as Silver Arrows go four races without a win in worst run for EIGHT YEARS after Max Verstappen’s latest victory over the Brit
Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes face a big struggle to get back to winning ways after having ‘no answer’ to Max Verstappen’s lights to flag victory at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen took a comfortable pole position on Saturday and after leading Hamilton into turn one, led all 71 laps before winning by a winning margin of over 35 seconds.
While 20 seconds of that can be explained by Hamilton pitting with a lap to go to pit for new tyres in a successful bid to gain the fastest lap, it was a chastening defeat for Mercedes.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton could only finish a distant second at the Styrian Grand Prix
Having not won their last four races, it represents the Silver Arrows’ worst run since the end of the 2013 season when Red Bull’s domination came to a close with Sebastian Vettel when they won the last nine races of the campaign.
Hamilton admits that Red Bull have a clear advantage and sees little optimism for being able to close a gap, that around the Red Bull Ring was worth around over a quarter-of-a-second per lap.
‘It was a bit of a lonely race,’ Hamilton said. ‘I was trying to stay with Max but they have made some improvements and it was impossible to keep up. We got good points as a team and we have to keep pushing.
‘I try not to concern myself with the championship but they are just faster and there is not a lot I can do in that respect but just try and do the best I can. We need to find performance.’
Hamilton celebrates his second place at the Red Bull Ring holding his trophy on the podium
The Mercedes driver had no answer to Red Bull, who dominated the Styrian Grand Prix
After speaking to Sky Sports, he added: ‘It was around three to four tenths [Red Bull advantage over Mercedes] – it was pretty impressive speed they had. There was nothing I could do.
‘I gave it absolutely everything. I don’t know where they are gaining speed but it was everywhere in general particularly on straights. They have definitely made big steps over the past couple of races and we haven’t really got an answer for it.’
Hamilton also believes his Mercedes team are suffering in not improving their car given the recent positive developments at Red Bull.
‘We’ve not brought any upgrades’, he added. ‘I don’t remember the last time we had an upgrade. They have brought engine upgrades and some other part of the package and it has just eeked them ahead.
Race winner Max Verstappen (centre) now leads the world championship by 18 points
‘There is a long way to go but with speed like that there is not much that we can do. We have to keep pushing to find something.’
By contrast, Red Bull have won four races in a row for the first time since the end of 2013, with Verstappen’s third victory in that timespan seeing him pull 18 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings.
The world championship leader is now hoping for a repeat performance at the same circuit for the next round of the world championship next weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix.
‘You never know how it was going to end but straight away I felt a good balance,’ said Verstappen following his 14th career win.
‘It is very positive but we have to show it again here next week and see what we can do better. It is looking really good so we have to keep going and I am confident we can do a good job again.’