Lewis Hamilton has insisted he would run Max Verstappen a lot closer than the Dutchman's teammate Sergio Perez is currently managing to do in the same car.
Red Bull's RB19 has proved the class of the field so far in 2023, with Verstappen and Perez winning all 12 Grands Prix and three Sprint events this year.
But while the Dutchman has proved untouchable in recent weeks, winning eight Grands Prix on the trot, Perez has come in for criticism for his relative underperformance, with several errors notably afflicting his Qualifying sessions that have then compromised his races.
Verstappen currently enjoys a 125-point lead over Perez in the Drivers' Championship, but Hamilton said that if he were in Red Bull's other car, he would be running the World Champion a lot closer.
"At the moment, it's impossible to beat the Red Bull unless they don't finish. They're eight-tenths to one second faster per lap than everybody else," Hamilton told Belgian outlet Sporza.
"It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. Do I want to be as fast as them? Of course. Would I like to have a car that's as fast as them? Of course.
"If was in Sergio's car, Max would not be having the same time he's having now. But it's not the way life is."
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Hamilton: Mercedes still seeking big step
Hamilton added that while his Mercedes team had made small gains throughout 2023, they were still looking for a big upgrade that would put them back in contention for race wins.
"None of us are happy in the sense that we're where we want to be, but we are continuously making steps," said Hamilton.
"We've had podiums, we've had a second place, we've had a pole this year which is really great.
"We're just making small strides, and we're looking for that big one to put us in contention for the top two. It's not going to come easy, but everyone's working towards it.
"Through adversity, it's building character and strength within the team, and one day we'll get back to where we need to be."
Who do you think would come out on top as Red Bull teammates between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton? Let us know in the comments below and by voting in the poll!