Lewis Hamilton makes ‘just insane’ Max Verstappen claim as he reveals Red Bull worry

Despite a strong start in Australia, Lewis Hamilton was easily passed by Max Verstappen on the 12th lap of the race.

With the Red Bull RB19 having a pace advantage over its rivals, Max Verstappen was favourite to convert his pole position into victory at the Australian Grand Prix.

However, Verstappen was in for a surprise when he was passed by George Russell into turn one and Lewis Hamilton before the end of lap one.

The lead held by Mercedes wouldn’t last long, with a safety car on lap seven seeing Russell come in for an early pitstop, leaving Hamilton out front.

Russell’s pitstop would prove a mistake, as moments after he rejoined the race in seventh a red flag was waved, allowing all drivers to have a free pitstop.

READ: Breaking: Lewis Hamilton demands Mercedes investigation after George Russell blowout

When the race restarted, Hamilton was left to battle Verstappen alone, ultimately being passed on lap 12, pushing him back to P2, where the Brit would eventually finish the race.

Speaking to reporters after the race, Hamilton seemed shocked by the straight line speed of the Red Bull, which has allowed them to breeze past rivals this season.

“Max is in another league,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “His car is so fast and he passed me halfway down the straight and he was several metres ahead.”

“I don’t know how it is so quick on the straight, it is just insane. 

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“They’re just in another league. Until we pick up speed on the straight like they have and have the crazy downforce that they have in the corners and that’s how it’s going to continue,” he added.

READ: Mercedes promise to fight back in 2023 title race despite Lewis Hamilton disappointment

Hamilton’s P2 finish delivered the first podium of the season for Mercedes, after the team qualified in P2 and P3 on Saturday.

“I think this, hopefully, gives us a real boost of hope and energy that is so early in the season but we’re there or thereabouts,” he continued.

“If we continue to work together we can definitely fight the Ferraris and the Aston Martins. The battle is really with Fernando [Alonso] right now,” Hamilton added, laying down the challenge to his rivals.