Lewis Hamilton will believe only that “something is happening” if he does not find Red Bull at the original levels during the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be played this weekend.
Last weekend was the first time that Red Bull could not win. It happened in Singapore when Carlos Sainz won the race, and he was in a Ferrari.
Hamilton said, “I would think if they are not 30 seconds ahead like they have been in the past, then something’s up. It was a difficult weekend, the last one, but their car should be phenomenal here. They have been phenomenal all year.”
On the other hand, Max Verstappen of Red Bull believes that they will have a really tough challenge at the high-speed Suzuka circuit from McLaren. He had a reason that the drivers loved this circuit the most.
Verstappen said, “It should be a good track for us, but McLaren have been making great gains, and they are normally quite good in the high-speed as well. So they can be quite strong here, I think.” When asked about the challenge McLaren is giving to Red Bull in the Japanese Grand Prix, he agreed and said, “Yeah, I think so.” He added, “I definitely see them very competitive.” Max Verstappen finished last weekend’s race in Singapore in fifth position.
Verstappen also appreciated McLaren’s improved performance because, at the start of the season, it was one of the slowest vehicles on the grid. Verstappen said, “It is quite impressive to see where they started and where they are now.”
When discussing the same matter with George Russel, a Mercedes driver, he also found McLaren a strong competitor. He gave this reason because of the various high-speed corners at Suzuka. The same-styled corners are at the British Grand Prix, where McLaren performed excellently. Russell mentioned that there was a close fight between Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren when Lando Norris of McLaren was one of the favorites.
Russell said, “If you look at Silverstone, in the 230km/h region corners they were exceptionally quick. They were 0.2-0.25secs quicker than the majority of the field in each of those corners, 0.1secs quicker than Red Bull.”