‘It is not my fault’: Lewis Hamilton reveals why he didn’t fight Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton has started 2023 with back-to-back fifth place finishes, with him already being 24 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton admitted after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that he “didn’t even bother to block” Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with the RB19 being the “fastest car” the Mercedes driver has ever seen.

As expected at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday, Verstappen breezed through the field with ease, after starting 15th following a driveshaft failure in Q2.

The Dutchman was unstoppable, with the 25-year-old having gone from 15th to second by the halfway point of the race.

Hamilton, of course, has plenty of experience driving exceptional F1 cars, with the Briton having claimed four consecutive titles from 2017-2020.

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After finishing fifth in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton admitted that Mercedes weren’t as fast as Red Bull are now during their dominant era, with the 38-year-old going on to suggest that a “close battle” isn’t on the cards for this season.

“I have definitely never seen a car so fast,” Hamilton said after the race.

“When we were fast, we were not that fast. It is the fastest car I have seen, especially compared to the rest.

“I don’t know how, but he [Verstappen] came past me with some serious speed and I didn’t even bother to block him because there was a massive speed difference.

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“Everyone wants to see a close battle, but it is the way it is. It is not my problem, it is not my fault.”

Hamilton has now started 2023 with back-to-back fifth place finishes, with the Brit currently finding himself fifth in the drivers’ championship.

The Stevenage-born driver was “pleased” to finish fifth after struggling in qualifying; however, he continues to have no “confidence with the car”.

“I still don’t have the confidence with the car, but I am doing the best I can with it,” Hamilton added.

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“I struggled in qualifying so I am pleased to turn it into a positive and George got a great result and some good points for the team.”

Hamilton was in a great position to challenge for a podium in the second half of the race, after being on a softer compound than everybody around him.

He was unable to really get the most out of the medium compound, though, ending any hope of a rostrum.