Lewis Hamilton has claimed it is “too early to say” whether Max Verstappen will dominate F1 after securing his second world title. But the Mercedes star admitted Verstappen could be in control if Red Bull continues to win next season.
The Briton also suggested that Ferrari would likely be the first team to beat Red Bull after Charles Leclerc came close to challenging for a few stages this year. Hamilton was asked if he believed F1 was at the beginning of a Verstappen era during Sunday’s post-race news conference.
The Mercedes driver was also asked if there was any chance of closing the gap next season. He replied, “It’s too early to tell. If we get to next year and they dominate again, then yes, but the Ferraris have been quicker than them during qualifying.
“I think every lap they probably performed better for most of the season. Now all they need to do is pick up their running pace and they’ll be with them. I think we have a much, much bigger pass and a steeper hill to climb, but I hope it’s not impossible.”
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However, their title challenge fizzled out after a series of strategic blunders and driver errors ended any chance of contending for the crown. Responding to the same question, Leclerc claimed that he was “sure” that Ferrari would take the fight to Red Bull in 2023.
He added: “Well, I hope not. I will do everything so that it does not happen and we are working as a team so that it does not happen, obviously.
“I think we are very clear where we need to improve. On one lap we are really strong and I think we are on the same level as Red Bull; in the course of a race, we have tire problems. So we are putting our effort into that and hopefully we will see the result as early as next year.”
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