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Verstappen ’12-13 km/h faster’ in Austrian F1 top speed – Motorsport Week

Verstappen ’12-13 km/h faster’ in Austrian F1 top speed – Motorsport Week
Verstappen ’12-13 km/h faster’ in Austrian F1 top speed – Motorsport Week

Lewis Hamilton claims Max Verstappen’s Red Bull goes “12-13 km/h faster” through the fast corners than Mercedes at the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen dominated qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, with the Dutchman eventually opening up a bigger gap to Lando Norris than second place all the way up to seventh.

Meanwhile, Hamilton lagged behind Mercedes teammate George Russell all weekend and admitted on the radio in Q1 that he lacked pace.

The Briton’s best performance in Q3 would leave him in fifth place, 0.063 seconds clear of Russell in third, but more than five-tenths behind Verstappen’s pole position benchmark.

Hamilton has revealed that the significant difference in the 64-second lap was largely due to Red Bull’s superior competitiveness in the fast sections.

“We made changes since qualifying and the car was better,” Hamilton said. “No real big issues.

“We were way behind on the high speed compared to Max. Way behind. It’s crazy how much faster they are on the high speed. They’re about 12-13 km/h faster.

Asked whether Mercedes made any compromises on the W15’s tuning that contributed to that extended high-speed margin, Hamilton replied: “No.

“We just don’t have enough downforce. We have made no compromises. That’s all we have.”

Hamilton regretted being ‘slow’ during qualifying in Austria.

Hamilton, who stood on the podium at the previous round in Spain, has admitted Verstappen’s return to crushing margins has been a setback for Mercedes.

Asked if there were other areas where Mercedes could compete with Red Bull, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know the answer. To be honest, I don’t know the answer.

“If I could take a bit of downforce and throw it on the back, I would. But… that’s not how it works. And we just have to keep working on improving.

“But the idea that we could potentially win a race this year, if you have a half-second lead like today, then it’s a bit further away. But we have to keep pushing.”

The seven-time Formula 1 champion also wondered why the German brand seems to be slipping behind the competition as the race weekend progresses.

Asked if he was surprised by Verstappen’s lead amid the convergence seen in recent laps, he replied: “Not really. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised.

“I think in P1 we are always fast, and in practice we are always fast.

“I don’t know if it’s the fuel, or the engine strategy that we use and the others don’t, and then everyone gets faster and we don’t.”