Lewis Hamilton’s statement that he has never seen a car as fast and superior to the competition as the Red Bull RB19 in the 2023 Formula 1 season makes Max Verstappen frown. Because the two-time world champion thinks that Hamilton, of all people, was often on the road with far superior material even in the golden years of Mercedes dominance between 2014 and 2020.
“If you look at the statistics, his statements are not true,” Verstappen reacted to Hamilton’s reaction after the Red Bull double victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “Of course we have a very good car. So far that’s true. But we’re obviously not as dominant as Mercedes was in a few years.”
Hamilton said after the race in Jeddah that he had “definitely never seen a car that’s that fast. Even when we were fast, we weren’t that fast. I really think it’s the fastest car I’ve ever seen compared to everyone else.”
Behind this is probably the sensitive psychology of Formula 1 drivers: both Hamilton and Verstappen probably feel more comfortable with the thought of having made the greatest contribution to the successes themselves at the wheel and not primarily benefiting from superior technology.
Verstappen does not concern Hamilton’s statements, he claims: “That’s not an issue for me. Ultimately, it makes no difference,” he says.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner also lets the Hamilton comments bounce off and even finds them “flattering”, as he says – “especially when I think about the cars Lewis has driven in the past”.
“But it’s true: it’s a great car. The RB19 is a fantastic basis for this season and that we celebrated double wins in the first two races was something we never dared to dream of before the start of the season.”
“However, we are fully aware that it is a long season. There are still 21 races and six sprint races to go and we expect the others to bring big updates when we go back to Europe.”
“So there is still a lot to do. We have a long way to go,” says Horner.