Lewis Hamilton sends Max Verstappen warning over replacing Sergio Perez

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen had a fierce battle for the 2021 Formula 1 championship.

Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, has candidly conceded that his exceptional driving prowess alone cannot compensate for the performance gap between Mercedes and the dominant Red Bull team in the ongoing Formula 1 season.

Red Bull’s RB19 has surged ahead, securing victory in all 12 races of the 2023 season, with Max Verstappen clinching an impressive 10 wins. 

Despite Mercedes’ concerted efforts to narrow the chasm through a series of substantial upgrades, they have been unable to challenge Red Bull for race victories.

The battle for supremacy has seen Mercedes predominantly vying for the final podium position against competitors such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, and McLaren. 

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Hamilton, who showcased his skill by clinching pole position in Hungary before settling for fourth place in the race, openly acknowledges that even his exceptional driving talents have limits when it comes to compensating for the performance gap of the W14 car.

Hamilton remarked, “I’m always trying to rely on my driving ability to make up for the deficit, but it’s not been ultimately enough in a lot of places.” 

He highlighted a specific instance at the Silverstone race where they were initially competitive with Red Bull in terms of lap time, only to experience a performance drop-off after Turn 13.

Both Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate, George Russell, encountered bouncing issues, which resurfaced during the final race before Formula 1’s summer break in Belgium. 

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These challenges further exacerbated Mercedes’ quest to bridge the gap to Red Bull.

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Taking a lighthearted dig at Sergio Perez, Hamilton suggested that Verstappen’s dominance might not be as pronounced if he were piloting Perez’s Red Bull car. 

Hamilton quipped, “If I was in Sergio’s car, Max would not be having the same [good] time he’s having now.” 

This comment followed Verstappen’s remarkable performance at Spa-Francorchamps, where he finished over 20 seconds ahead of Perez, despite starting six places behind due to a grid penalty.