Sir Lewis Hamilton did his best to keep pace with Max Verstappen at the French Grand Prix, but the Red Bull driver just had too much in his locker last weekend.
Hamilton climbed up to second in Le Castellet after passing Sergio Perez off the start, before Charles Leclerc’s crash promoted him to second as Verstappen took the lead.
From there, the reigning champion gradually opened out his advantage to over 10 seconds, and the Mercedes simply had no answer to the Red Bull’s speed.
“I was trying to keep up with Max, but he’s just so fast,” Hamilton told RacingNews365.com.
“I was kind of keeping with him for maybe two laps, but I’m full blast down the straight and he’s pulling away.
“I think today was one of the biggest straight-line deficits we’ve had. If you’re losing three or four tenths on the straights, there’s nothing you can do about that.
“So we’ve got to work to improve that for the future. I’m sure there’s a couple other places that we could be better.
“If I had pushed them more, then maybe I wouldn’t have seen the end of the race in the same position.
“I had to also keep the car in one piece and keep the tyres there, so this is the best result we could get.”
George Russell ended up third behind his team-mate as the Silver Arrows managed their first double podium of the season so, while Verstappen’s pace exemplified the advancements they still have to make, Hamilton is pleased with the result.
“This is progress, even though we’re not necessarily closing the gap as such in actual qualifying performance, but this is great points for us,” he explained.
“We’ve just got to keep pushing every weekend, and we’re hoping that we’re going to get a little bit closer.
“This weekend we somehow weren’t as close as we hoped, but he was only 10 seconds up the road, so that’s a positive.”