Lewis Hamilton does not believe that rival F1 teams have yet bridged the gap to Red Bull, despite their woeful performance at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s unprecedented invincible run came to an end in emphatic fashion in Singapore, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez only able to salvage fifth and eighth following a shock double Q2 elimination.
The reigning world champions had won the 15 races prior to Singapore but Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz claimed the first non-Red Bull victory of 2023, heading McLaren’s Lando Norris and Hamilton’s Mercedes.
While Hamilton had no specific answer for Red Bull’s unexpected slump in Singapore, the seven-time world champion suspects they have long switched focus onto 2024.
“I don’t really know why they’re off, pace-wise,” Hamilton 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 [Red Bull] 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.”
Race-winner Sainz has backed Red Bull to rediscover their supreme form at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still winning the last few races of the season,” the Spaniard said.
“Singapore gave us the chance and we just did well. But the Red Bull is going to be up there in the remainder of the season and they’re going to be very, very, very, very difficult to beat.
“It’s great for F1 if Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston would be that two, three-tenths quicker every race, to challenge them in race pace.
“The racing this year would be incredible and it would be eight drivers fighting for wins, a bit like we saw in Singapore with four or five guys out there fighting for a win around a street track. It just shows the potential F1 has to create an incredible show.”
Norris was equally baffled by Red Bull’s struggles but does not expect Singapore to spell the end of their F1 dominance.
“I don’t know what they struggled with this weekend but when I watched Max’s onboard from qualifying, I kind of laughed because I’ve never seen a car that bad before,” he said.
“But Max also laughed about it. So, we’ll see next weekend. I think they’ll probably be back at the top.”
Keyword: Lewis Hamilton’s theory - and warning - about Red Bull's F1 Singapore GP blip