Lewis Hamilton says there is a "very real possibility" that Charles Leclerc is correct in his assessment that Red Bull's Formula 1 advantage could be locked in until the end of 2025.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit has been the dominant force in F1's ground-effect era, claiming 17 wins last year before securing victory in each of the 12 races in the first half of the current campaign.
F1 is set to undergo a huge rules reset for 2026, with Ferrari driver Leclerc fearing that Red Bullcould enjoy its dominant run for the next two full seasons.
"We don't have a rule change coming up, so I'm going to hope that is not the case," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com when asked about Red Bull's advantage potentially being locked in until 2025.
"The fact is that they are far ahead and most likely have started developing next year's car already months before everybody else.
"They are 100-200 points ahead in the championship, so it is very, very possible that Charles could be right, but we're working on a steep gradient trying to develop and get ourselves to close the gap.
"Whether we can, next year will be proof."
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Hamilton agrees with Leclerc
When asked by RacingNews365 what he wants to see from the team in terms of development, Hamilton gave a clear answer.
"We need more rear-end, they have to figure out how to do that," he said.
"We're always learning more and more about the characteristics of the airflow, how the car is running in cross-winds, how it works in the high, medium and slow speed corners and how to work with the tyres.
"[There is also] high, mid and low downforce settings so you are constantly learning, constantly [gathering] data which is being analysed and I am learning more every time I get in the car.
"We're learning more about how we use the tyres, we're learning more about how we can use the engine differently and how we can use the fuel [to improve]."