Lewis Hamilton questions Red Bull’s DRS advantage

Lewis Hamilton questions Red Bull's DRS advantage

Lewis Hamilton wonders what happened to one of Red Bull’s major weapons as he thinks they have lost some of their DRS since the 2023 season began.

Red Bull continues to remain dominant in 2023 Formula One after winning all 10 Grands Prix, but recent races have indicated that their unbeatable pace advantage over the rest of the field is fading.

Lando Norris in his McLaren overcame Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the start of the British Grand Prix, taking the lead for the first five laps. Now going into Hungary, Hamilton dealt another significant blow to Verstappen’s reputation of invulnerability.

Although Hamilton has won the Hungarian Grand Prix eight times, only a small number of people including Hamilton and his Mercedes team believed he could edge Verstappen to pole position, which he did by a narrow margin of a mere 0.003s.

Qualifying under the Alternative Tyre Allocation [ATA] format, the Mercedes W14 came out on top despite Red Bull having prepared an upgrade package for the RB19 that was anticipated to add a few tenths per lap.

The question of whether Red Bull is being outpaced by the rest of the grid or whether it is primarily a matter of Red Bull failing to reach its peak earlier in the season was then put to Hamilton.

Red Bull’s Drag Reduction System, which earlier in the season was thought to be worth up to three tenths of a lap, has come under fire from Hamilton who believes that the team has lost performance.

Hamilton commented when Sky F1 asked if Red Bull has been cornered by competing teams, citing Fernando Alonso’s claim that the new Pirelli tyre configuration is affecting Red Bull.

“Honestly, I think they’ve slowed down quite a bit from the beginning of the year,” Hamilton said. “I mean, they’ve still got the DRS, they don’t have the DRS advantage all of a sudden that they used to have. Where did that go?

“But I mean they’ve just had an upgrade, so we expected them to have taken another step.

“We heard it was around two-tenths or something like that. So for them to not have been able to extract that in qualifying is interesting.”

Hamilton reiterated his conviction that the “best of the rest” group is now cutting Red Bull’s advantage, but he does think that Red Bull will finally come into their own merits again on race day. He also offered a shout-out to his former team McLaren, who he is excited to see participating in the discussion.

“I think in the race they’re still the quickest and I think it will be very hard to beat them tomorrow,” Hamilton added. “But yeah, we’re just as surprised as everybody else.

“But definitely interesting to see some of the deficits and how it’s changed from race to race to race and how we’ve all closed up, and super happy to see McLaren in there.”

Verstappen and Hamilton will start from the front row in Hungary with Norris starting from position three and Oscar Piastri from position four.

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