Lewis Hamilton had a playful response for Max Verstappen‘s dominance at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, referencing Austin Powers after the Dutchman notched his eighth consecutive Formula 1 victory.
Despite starting sixth, Verstappen hit the front of the race on lap 17 and went on to finish 22 seconds ahead of early leader Sergio Perez, with Hamilton only denying him fastest lap at the death after a late switch to fresh tyres.
At one stage Verstappen asked whether he should push on further and take a third stop to give the team some practice in the pits, an illustration of how easy the grand prix, and 2023 season, has been for him.
“What do you want me to say?” Hamilton told the media, when asked what is Verstappen‘s mindset. “I’ve no idea, I haven’t spoken to him. He’s having a smoke and a pancake.”
The line is from Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third film in the spy-parody series starring Mike Myers.
Hamilton expects continued competition behind Red Bull
The 2023 season has been a fight for second place behind Red Bull ever since Verstappen finished 39 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso in the season-opening Bahrain GP – Alonso the fastest other car on the grid.
Aston Martin have fallen back from that battle and for a while Mercedes looked the best team, scoring four podiums in four races from the Canadian GP.
But since McLaren upgraded both cars for the British GP they’ve looked clearly the second-fastest car while Ferrari were back mixing it at the front in Spa with Charles Leclerc scoring a podium.
And Hamilton was asked where he expects the rollercoaster nature of that battle to continue after the summer break.
“I don’t know how much development people will be doing in the second part of the season, but I think there will be movement,” Hamilton added.
“I don’t know what happened to Aston, how they’ve taken a step back, but I’m sure McLaren will be strong in the second phase, Ferrari and us are very, very close.
“So dependent on track I’m sure there’ll be some movement in positions for us all, I hope that we can compete a little bit better.”