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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton claims Max Verstappen’s Red Bull car is fastest he has EVER seen in F1 career after Saudi GP annihilation

, Lewis Hamilton claims Max Verstappen’s Red Bull car is fastest he has EVER seen in F1 career after Saudi GP annihilation

LEWIS HAMILTON claimed he had never “seen a car so fast” after Red Bull completed another annihilation.

Sergio Perez took the chequered flag while Max Verstappen came from 15th on the grid to finish second, as this season is becoming a procession.

Hamilton has struggled to compete with the Red Bulls this season

Verstappen and Perez have dominated the grid

The Dutchman even pumped in a fastest lap at the death – on a knackered set of old tyres that was still a second quicker than the rest – to secure a bonus point.

It is incredible to think that Hamilton‘s last victory in F1 came at this track back in 2021. Since then Verstappen has dominated in a remarkable change of fortunes.

But it was the manner in which he breezed past the Brit on lap 12 of this dreary race which astounded the seven-times world champion.

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He said: “I’ve definitely never seen a car so fast.

“When we were fast, we weren’t that fast. I don’t know how or why but he came past me at such a serious speed, I did not bother to block because it was a massive speed difference.

“Of course, everyone wants to see everyone closer but that isn’t the way it is, but that’s not my fault.”

The result was a reversal of the outcome of the opening race in Bahrain – but Verstappen’s bonus point means he leads the championship from his team-mate.

But the reality is this was another no-contest with Fernando Alonso coming third despite a controversial post-race penalty.


The Spaniard was hit with a 10-second time penalty after his Aston Martin team failed to serve their earlier five-second penalty for an infringement on the grid where he was out of position.

As he came in to pit and serve his penalty, the Aston mechanics raised up the rear jack when the rules stipulate they cannot touch his car for a full five seconds.

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It was an obvious slam dunk yet for some unfathomable reason, the FIA did not apply the penalty until after the race – much to Aston’s frustration – and F1’s embarrassment given Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi oil firm, Aramco, had presented Alonso with his trophy on the podium.

The fall-out was spectacular but had an unexpected benefit for Russell, who was promoted into third place.

Alonso said: “Today is not good for the fans. When you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and you wait after the podium, there is something wrong in the system.”

In another incredible post-race twist, Alonso was later re-instated onto the podium after another FIA U-turn.

Hamilton cut a lonely figure before the race as there was no help from Angela Cullen, the bleached-haired assistant who had performed his pre-race preparations for the past seven years.

Instead of the New Zealander, the responsibility fell to a veteran garage hand known simply as Steveo, although he did not go the whole hog of holding back Hamilton’s braided hair while he put on his crash helmet.

Hamilton scooted down the pitlane, unaccompanied and wearing earphones, he made his way to the front of the grid for the national anthem.

And that was as close to the front he got, as this race turned into another Red Bull procession.

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Despite qualifying down in 15th place to a drive shaft problem, the pre-race talk was still about whether Verstappen could challenge for a podium.

The consensus was unanimous – only not on for a top three finish but for the win.

By lap two, he had made up two places. By lap eight, he had made up three more as he started to power his way through the field.

Out in front Perez was keeping out of Alonso’s reach, with the Spaniard hampered by his initial penalty for being out of position on the grid.

Red Bull were cruising to another one-two finish, albeit for a little late drama when Verstappen told his team his car was making a high-pitched noise.

He need not have worried though, he was still going quicker than everyone else, so much so that Perez felt the need to get a hurry up at the fear of being gobbled up by his team-mate.

He did enough to come home in P1 while Verstappen completed the maximum points haul for the Milton Keynes-based team.

Meanwhile, Merc boss Toto Wolff has refused to rule out copying his rivals’ designs as they look to get back to winning ways, despite being second in the constructors’ championship.

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He added: “I don’t know if you can call it a Red Bull or Aston Martin concept. At the end of the day, if it looks like a double-decker bus we would do it if it was fast!”



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