Lewis Hamilton expects Red Bull to win every race of the 2023 Formula 1 season unless they suffer a DNF, after Max Verstappen stormed to another victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished third in Canada, his second successive podium and Mercedes‘ third in two races, after their Monaco GP upgrade has proved successful.
He finished 14 seconds behind Verstappen at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a huge step forward from the 51 seconds he finished behind the championship leader at the season-opening Bahrain GP – and was asked whether it’s frustrating trailing home behind the Dutchman.
“It’s not a frustration anymore, if it ever was,” Hamilton told the media. “You know how it is and you know what you’re faced with and there’s nothing I can do about their amazing performance.
“It’s likely that they will win every race moving forward this year unless the Astons and us put a lot more performance on the cars, or their car doesn’t finish.”
Toto Wolff confirmed Mercedes have two upgrade packages planned for before the summer break, when teams have to shut down their factories for 14 days.
They’re bringing a big upgrade to Silverstone, to rival their Monaco development, and plan to have another one for either the Hungarian or Belgian GPs.
“It’s not easy with the regulations to find the amount of performance that they have,” Hamilton said. “They’ve got to be at least 30 points up on us at in certain points through the lap and we’ve got some work to do, but it’s not frustrating.
“I’m happy to firstly be back in the mix and I’m just hoping at some stage we can have a little bit more levels so we can get back to some of the good races we had back in 2021 and to have all three of us in a super-tight battle would be sick.”
Hamilton: Car doesn’t feel different after upgrades
However, despite the noticeable improvement in performance in the W14, Hamilton said he’s not noticed a difference driving the car.
He added Mercedes need to take another few steps forward to be in a position to beat Red Bull either in 2023 or 2024.
“In truth, it doesn’t feel a huge difference to the beginning of the year,” Hamilton added. “There are some elements of the car which do feel different and obviously with the upgrade, maybe just a little bit more downforce on the car.
“But the characteristics of the car are very, very similar to what we’ve had earlier on in the year and so for next year’s car, you need to take a lot of these different things off and change them for sure.
“It’s definitely not the car that characteristic-wise the car that’s going to be able to beat the Red Bull just yet?”