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The factors set to put Red Bull's dominance to the test

While Red Bull have looked to be a dominant force in the opening three rounds of the 2023 F1 season, Damon Hill believes that the team's true standing will become clear in upcoming races.

Damon Hill believes that Red Bull's level of dominance will be put to the test in upcoming races, with a key factor being the impact of the cost cap. The team have appeared to hold a significant edge over their rivals so far in 2023, having amassed 123 points at the top of the Constructors' Championship while nearest rivals Aston Martin sit on 65. Max Verstappen claimed victories in Bahrain and Australia, putting him in the lead of the Drivers' Championship, and teammate Sergio Perez took the win in Saudi Arabia. The likes of George Russell have suggested that Red Bull are still masking their true pace – an idea that Verstappen and Christian Horner have dismissed – but Hill thinks that the team's standing will become clearer in the races ahead.

Bahrain main indicator?

Following Verstappen's latest win at the Australian Grand Prix, Hill questioned whether Red Bull's particularly dominant display in Bahrain was the biggest indicator yet of their abilities. "Maybe this is an outlier," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast. "Maybe these last couple of races have not been representative, and maybe Bahrain was more of an indicator [that] we should be looking at, because [it's] much more of a circuit [where] you need a lot of downforce and good tyre usage, not too much degradation. "And that's where Red Bull were absolutely smashing them."

Will the cost cap affect Red Bull?

With this in mind, Hill believes that the changing characteristics of upcoming circuits on the calendar will put Red Bull's dominance to the test. "Looking forward, we've got Baku coming up," the 1996 World Champion said. "That's a similar kind of track to these fast circuits. We've got long straights [and] tight, twisty bits. [It] doesn't require massively high downforce because you've got the long straight, so we shall see again. "It's going to be put to the test through the season on a variety of circuits." Alongside this, Hill is curious to see whether the budget cap has an impact. "[Another factor is] whether or not the cost cap has prevented or helped other people [to] catch up," he added. "Has it prevented Red Bull from moving away from the field and allowing other people to catch up? I'm going to be really interested to see how that unfolds, four races from now, five races from now, six races from now."

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