Motorsports

Hamilton: I “will be in trouble” if Red Bull F1 form continues


Verstappen and Red Bull utterly dominated last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, the Dutchman taking his ninth win of the campaign ahead of Hamilton and teammate Sergio Perez.

That moved Verstappen 19 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, with Red Bull closing the gap to Mercedes in the constructors’ standings to a single point.

The balance of power between Mercedes and Red Bull has ebbed and flowed throughout the season, with Mercedes quicker in Turkey but Red Bull then clearly having the upper hand in Austin and Mexico City, and next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix is also believed to favour Red Bull’s car.

Hamilton said he hopes the fight will be more closely matched in Sao Paulo, because otherwise he fears Mercedes “will be in trouble” to salvage both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

“There’s still four races, there’s still… obviously 19 points is a lot of points and I think he’s had a lot of wins this year,” Hamilton said after Sunday’s race.

“I think today with their superior speed, if they were to carry that into the next ones then we will be in trouble.

“I don’t know if they’ll be using that huge wing that they had on today, naturally we’ll find out when we get there, but I hope we’re closer.”

Verstappen’s 19-point lead in the championship means that – barring bad luck for the Dutchman – Hamilton will likely need to win three of the remaining four races if he is to extend his title streak and take an unprecedented eighth world championship.

When asked if he sees Brazil as a must-win race, Hamilton said he approaches every single race weekend that way.

“I naturally feel I need to be winning every race, because we need those extra points, not to lose those points, to try and regain,” he explained.

“That was the goal going into the last race and the race before that and before that, and here this weekend.

“But they’re just too quick, so giving it absolutely everything we’ve got but unfortunately it’s not enough at the moment to compete with them.”

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Verstappen doesn’t expect Red Bull’s pace advantage in Interlagos to be as significant as it was in Mexico and is wary of the various ways his maiden world title could yet elude him.

Asked if he feels the momentum is now firmly on his side, he said: “I don’t believe in momentum.”

“Every single race we have to try and nail the details and we didn’t do that [in qualifying], so things can go wrong very quickly, or can go right.

“It’s going to be really tight and exciting to the end. This has been always a track really good for us, so I expect Brazil not to be like it was today.”


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