We’re in trouble if Red Bull are this quick everywhere – Hamilton

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton fears for his championship chances if the performance advantage Red Bull demonstrated in Mexico continues over the remaining races.

With four rounds of the championship left, Hamilton has fallen 19 points behind Max Verstappen, who scored his ninth win from 18 races on Sunday. Verstappen took the chequered flag 16 seconds ahead of Hamilton, having backed off towards the end of the race.

Hamilton, who narrowly finished second ahead of Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, admitted their rivals’ performance in the race was a cause for concern. “There’s still four races [but] obviously 19 points is a lot of points,” he said on Sunday. “He’s had a lot of wins this year.

“I think today with their superior speed, if they were to carry that into the next ones then we may be in trouble – or we will be in trouble.”

Mercedes previously struggled to compete with Red Bull when using the maximum downforce levels the teams ran in Mexico. Hamilton is hopeful this will be avoided over the final four races.

“I don’t know if they’ll be using that huge wing that they had on today,” he added. “Naturally we’ll find out when we get there but I hope we’re closer.”

Mercedes must start winning to overcome Verstappen’s lead in the points, said Hamilton. “I naturally feel I need to be winning every race, because we need those extra points, not to lose those points, to try and regain. That was the goal going into the last race and the race before that and before that and here this weekend.

“But they’re just too quick. So we’re giving it absolutely everything we’ve got but unfortunately it’s not enough at the moment to compete with them.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “We’re in trouble if Red Bull are this quick everywhere – Hamilton”

  1. So no more feeling ‘blessed’ without a 1 sec faster car and no way to ‘still we rise’?

    1. @knightameer, he is/was blessed to have a car capable of competing all these years for championships. He still needs to deliver the results the car is/was capable of. Very similar to what Max has been doing this season.

      1. Not quite… Lewis used a car far superior to every other contestant for years. Now both cars are equal or better on some tracks.
        Its the driver that makes the difference. if Lewis stops making lots of mistakes under pressure his chances will increase.
        Not really an option i am afraid. The pressure is rising and still i rise does not work anymore..
        Still a great driver but the moment of losing his throne is imminent.

  2. The other teams have been saying that for the last eight years after the 1st race not the 18th, and the advantage Red Bull hold over Mercedes is so slender and prone to change on a race by race basis saying they’re in trouble is a bit of an exaggeration. One DNF for either of them and it changes the entire face of the championship.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      8th November 2021, 17:09

      +1

    2. if it keeps like this last one they’ll be in trouble. In this last one they trailed by 20 secs. Is it that hard!?

    3. Max already had his share of DNF’s i guess.
      Without them the season was over already.
      If lewis blows an engine ( very likely) its game over. Not because this DNF, but because of the better driver and team.

  3. So it is all about the car in the end? I thought it was all down to famous “hammer-time” skill.

    1. @Thiim, Car’s don’t drive themselves.

  4. If Max wins Brazil and excluding misfortune than Lewis needs Bottas to beat Max to win the WDC.

    Without Bottas finishing ahead of Max the best possible outcome for Lewis is a tie in points in which case Max wins.
    Max 312.5 + 2 (sprint) + 25 + 18 + 18 + 18 = 393.5 points
    Lewis 293.5 + 3 (sprint) + 19 + 26 + 26 + 26 = 393.5 points

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer – As far as I’m concerned Max has a digit on the WDC. RBR will be the car to beat in Brazil and I don’t expect the Mercs to be competitive there. Lewis needs to win all the remaining races and require a favour from someone to ensure he gets an 8th. Don’t see that happening…

    2. Forget the calculation, Max got this 100%. There’s no way merc is going to get this year. Redbull won Abu Dhabi with last years car, so Brazil and Abu Dhabi are also theirs. With Bottas screwing himself up the whole time it won’t be necessary as well. This year was a write off for mercedes I believe, they are concentrating on 2022 with Russel. merc is keeping Hamilton for 2022 for his reputation, he will retire 2023 at latest.

      1. Counting your chickens before they hatch… Max is just one bad engine away from losing the lead. There’s a lot of racing left.

        1. The chances lewis blows a engine are very real.
          The Merc engine is one of the least dependable this year under the Honda pressure.

  5. After watching pre-season test, we have expected Red Bull to win championship this season, but instead we were more surprised Mercedes were still in contention for the impossible until now…

    1. I’m not surprised, I’m more surprised red bull is still in contention, given the story of the hybrid era.

  6. It seems self-evident but Merc really do need a better result in Brazil. Overall if Lewis does not win in Brazil or least come in front of Max by a couple of places, they are going to be relying upon a DNF for Max or something else which puts him to the back of the grid. Of course it’s far from over but RBR look so good at the moment even on their not so favoured circuits.

    1. +1 to that. I fully understand that you dont want to loose any race or any championshop but sometimes it huppens unfortunately.

      1. That was suppose to be a reply to Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer)

    2. @phil-f1-21, i consider this championship over. But all good things come to an end at some point…

      1. did you watch F1 in 2007? NOBODY thought Raikkonen would win the championship based on the standings (and relative performance of the cars). my point is, as long as there is still a mathematical possibility it’s not over by a long shot

        1. Max Verstappen is not the rookie Hamilton of 2007 whom let the championship slipped away, remember the bald tires at Shanghai incident? No chance Red Bull or MV getting this sort of mistake.

  7. I would think performance wise red bull should have an edge again in brazil, then however I’m not sure about the other races, at least one of the new one layout wise seems to favour mercedes and in abu dhabi, although it was a mercedes stronghold until recently, the last 2 races verstappen has been closer and dominant respectively, so maybe red bull could have an edge on those 2 tracks and merc on the 2 new tracks.

    1. Well, Abu Dhabi has changed quite a bit it seems with more flat out driving and less technical sections. Could be in favor of Mercedes this time

      1. That’s true, the pecking order could change this year in abu dhabi, and the other 2 tracks are still unknown since there’s no previous data.

  8. Redbull have been the car to beat this year. Max has been in top form. Mercs have had their advantage taken from them with the aero changes made by fia at the beginning this year. For mercs to still be in contention tells alot about merc and Lewis. They really are bringu g their A game while also looking to next seasons new format. Well done to both teams and drivers. We dont need to belittle 1 driver to raise the other up. Both have been very good. Its been largely down to car design philosophy that has put Redbull in front.

    1. I fully agree on this: “We dont need to belittle 1 driver to raise the other up.”
      I disagree on the rest though..

  9. Martin Bradley MORRIS
    9th November 2021, 9:18

    Bearing in mind that Verstappen lost points at Baku (25 points through no fault of his own) and Hungary (possible 15-18 Points through no fault of his own), he could now be about 60 points up. That is without any consideration being given to either Imola where Hamilton was lucky to be promoted from 14th to 2nd through a lucky Red Flag. So that is 18 point Hamilton got luckily. That would make it very close to 80 points lead Verstappen. Then we can all ponder the Silverstone incident. It could well have been another possible 25 points.

    1. I can agree to your view only partially. With a slightly more luck for Verstappen the gap would have been greater and perhaps at this point he would only need to control the situation by trailing Lewis home in remaining races.

      However, the math behind it is not that straightforward as you claim. The simplest of the incidents you mention, is Silverstone where Verstappen lost 25 points to Ham. He could have lost only 7/8 or perhaps gain those 7/8 points instead or make it a zero-zero situation if both cars retired.

      In Hungary he lost an almost certain podium, on the other hand in the counterfactual scenario in which there had been no carnage in turn 1, there would have been no standing restart and thus Hamilton would likely bag a win instead of second place where he finished instead.

      In Baku, Verstappen again lost load of points through no fault of his own, but once more – had Verstappen not crashed out there would have been no red flag & no standing restart. Therefore Hamilton would have cruised to 3rd place, making the actual gain for Verstappen from that race “only” 10 points instead of 25 you counted.

      If we consider Imola as you say, yes Hamilton was lucky to recover most of the time lost with red flags, otherwise he was in quite decent form on that weekend taking away pole from faster Red Bull pair as well. Not to forget that Max was lucky to keep the lead after he skidded off the track during the restart – had the driver behind him reacted swiftly (Norris or Leclerc it was) he and several others would have blasted past into lead before Verstappen would recover himself.

      There were few other instances that could be included in these counterfactual scenarios and your mathematics, like the damage on Hamilton car in Austria/Styria, the origin of which could not be determined, costing him some 6 points. So, in the end the hypothetical gap could have been larger but no way near to your estimates.

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