Lewis Hamilton has predicted Max Verstappen and Red Bull‘s dominance over Formula 1 will extend for several years to come, after the Dutchman stormed to yet another crushing victory at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton trailed home eighth and 63 seconds behind Verstappen, who loftily managed his gap to second-placed Lando Norris throughout the race and never looked under any pressure from the McLaren.
It’s Verstappen‘s 17th win in 2023, extending the record for most race victories in a season that the Dutchman set a week earlier at the Mexico City GP.
“Ultimately, all I can do is try to remain optimistic,” Hamilton told the media. “I think the Red Bull is so far away, they’re probably going to be very clear for the next couple of years.”
Verstappen appeared about as comfortable it’s possible to look when averaging 157km/h for 75 minutes, and his Interlagos victory marks yet more records for Red Bull.
The team have surpassed Mercedes‘ 2016 milestone for the most laps led in a season, and equalled the Silver Arrows’ record of 19 wins a season – but taken one fewer race to reach that tally.
Verstappen‘s 52nd career victory moves him above Alain Prost in the all-time winners’ rankings too, with just Sebastian Vettel (53), Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) still ahead.
And he surpassed another 20th-century great in different category – breaking Alberto Ascari‘s 1952 record for highest-percentage of wins in a season.
Hamilton expected tough day ahead of Brazilian GP
Red Bull have only failed to win once in 2023 – as they were off the pace in Singapore leaving Carlos Sainz to take victory with Hamilton a frustrated third.
It’s now over 700 days since Hamilton took the top step of the podium – at the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP – and the seven-time champion knows a thing or two about how hard it is to overcome the dominant force in F1.
At the 2023 Brazilian GP, Mercedes suffered rapid tyre degradation in the sprint race, and could only react by driving so cautiously in the grand prix that they were even less competitive than Alpine.
With George Russell retiring, Hamilton‘s four points was the team’s worst haul since the 2021 Azerbaijan GP, and their joint-fifth-lowest race score since he joined the team in 2013.
“I knew that we’d have an extremely difficult day,” Hamilton added after the Grand Prix. “Nothing changed on the car from yesterday to today, so we knew it’d be a tough one.
“In the Sprint I ate through the tyres with an unexpected lack of pace and then I think I got better today in terms of at least making my stints last.”