Lewis Hamilton has openly admitted to having looked through Max Verstappen’s data this year, with it worryingly revealing that the three-time World Champion has been “chilling at the front”.
Verstappen cruised to the 2023 Drivers’ Championship with complete ease, as he was victorious in 19 of the 22 completed races.
Unsurprisingly, this destroyed the record for most wins in a season, a record he already broke in 2022.
That wasn’t all, though, as the 26-year-old also broke the records for most points in a season (575) and most consecutive wins (10).
To put Verstappen’s dominance into some context, Red Bull would’ve still won the Constructors’ Championship by 166 points purely on his points total alone.
Hamilton rarely challenged the Red Bull driver in 2023, with his best shot at victory having come at the United States Grand Prix.
Prior to his disqualification, Hamilton was hunting Verstappen down in the closing laps and arguably would’ve had a chance at trying to overtake him if the race was one-lap longer.
On that day, many labelled Hamilton as the quickest driver and the Mercedes as the best car at the Circuit of the Americas; however, after looking through Verstappen’s data, the seven-time World Champion discovered that Verstappen wasn’t even “sweating”.
Verstappen was just in complete control without having to push beyond the RB19’s limit, a position which Hamilton admits feels “amazing”.
The 38-year-old recognises that Verstappen and Red Bull fully deserved their 2023 success, based on the “amazing job” they’ve done.
“You can go through the lap times and some of the data from Max,” Hamilton told BBC Sport. “He is just chilling at the front more often than not. I don’t think he has broken a sweat during the year.
“Even when we were chasing him in Austin [Hamilton finished a close second behind Verstappen before he was later disqualified], I don’t think he was sweating. I think he was just able to control it.
“And when you are in that position where you have performance and can back off, the car goes further. The tyres go longer and you are in a sweet spot and it is amazing to be in that place. Ultimately, they have done an amazing job and worked and deserve it.”