Mercedes admit they ‘can’t believe’ Red Bull’s DRS advantage

Red Bull's straight-line speed was very similar to Mercedes' and Ferrari's when not using DRS in Belgium.

Red Bull’s straight-line speed advantage when using DRS was evident at the recent Belgian Grand Prix, with speed trap data having proven why.

Red Bull have been unbelievably fast all season when the DRS is in operation, something which has allowed Max Verstappen to breeze through the field in Saudi Arabia and Belgium this season.

It took the reigning World Champion just 17 laps at the Belgian GP to go from sixth to first, before he went on to win his 10th race of the season by 22 seconds.

According to data gathered by Auto Motor und Sport, Red Bull were “superior to the competition in every respect” at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the summer break.

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Interestingly, seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was able to carry more speed than both Verstappen and Sergio Perez through Eau Rouge, before losing all his time gained down the Kemmel Straight.

Hamilton’s quickest speed through Eau Rouge was 313.4kph, a fascinating 6.2kph faster than Verstappen and also around 5.5kph faster than Perez.

Mercedes are clearly strong through the high-speed corners, before losing everything in a straight-line.

Without DRS, Mercedes’ top speed was 199.9 mph, narrowly less than Red Bull’s which was 200.3 mph.

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However, the difference between the two teams when using DRS is staggering, with Mercedes’ top speed with DRS having been 208.1 mph, whereas Red Bull’s was 213 mph.

It means Red Bull were almost 13 mph quicker in a straight-line when using DRS, whereas Mercedes gained just over eight mph.

Interestingly, Ferrari were the slowest of the three without DRS, with the SF-23 managing just 198.9 mph.

However, with DRS in operation, Ferrari achieved 210.8 mph.

The Italians are therefore second in the speed traps when it comes to straight-line speed with DRS, providing an explanation as to why Lewis Hamilton struggled to overtake Charles Leclerc.

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Mercedes’ chief technical officer Mike Elliott believes it’s “incredible” how much time Red Bull gain in the straights, with him revealing that Mercedes can “hardly believe it”.

“It’s incredible how much lap time Red Bull gains as soon as the rear wing is open,” Elliott said, as reported by

“When we put the speed curves on top of each other, we can hardly believe it ourselves.”