Lewis Hamilton sent warning about gap to Red Bull

Mercedes' double podium at the 2023 Spanish GP was their first since the 2022 Brazilian GP.

Former Ferrari and Bridgestone engineer Kees van de Grint has seemingly warned Mercedes that the gap to Red Bull is “still the same”, despite the fact the Silver Arrows claimed their first double podium last weekend since the closing stages of 2022.

Lewis Hamilton finished second with George Russell in third last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, as the Germans moved ahead of Aston Martin and into second in the Constructors’ Championship.

It was Mercedes’ second time using their new concept and based on the results so far, it does appear to be working better than the previous design.

Despite the improvements made by Mercedes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton still finished 24 seconds behind reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.

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Whilst Verstappen still won comfortably, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the Silver Arrows will “put pressure” on the Austrians as the season develops.

“At the end of the day they were 23 seconds behind,” said Horner, as reported by Grandpx.news. “But they still took a step forward.

“It was a big package they introduced but we’ll have items later in the season. But I think they will start to put pressure on us in the second half of the season.”

Van de Grint though, believes otherwise.

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The former engineer disagreed with Horner’s claims that Mercedes have taken a “step forward”, with the Dutchman noting that the “gap is still the same” as it was with the previous concept of the W14.

With the Canadian Grand Prix being next, van de Grint is expecting Mercedes to be “disappointing again”, due to the circuit’s characteristics.

“If you calculate the percentages, the gap is still the same,” he told Viaplay.

“Last year, we also saw that Mercedes was much better on circuits with high-speed corners. I think it could be disappointing again in Canada.”

One thing ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has noticed about the new concept is that Hamilton appears to be a “lot happier” with it than Russell, who arguably performed better in the original car.

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The German believes Hamilton “seems relieved” and has a sense of “optimism” about him again, making the former Toyota driver believe “he’s back”.

“Lewis seems to get along with the new concept a little better than George Russell,” Schumacher told Sky Deutschland, “but he also just seemed a lot happier.

“He seems relieved and sees light on the horizon again. I felt the optimism that had left him for a while. Now he’s back.”