Lewis Hamilton warns Mercedes that Red Bull will be ‘very hard to beat’ this season after falling behind title rival Max Verstappen in the disastrous Monaco GP … as Brit admits his team ‘CAN’T afford another weekend like this ‘
- Lewis Hamilton surrendered the championship lead at the Monaco Grand Prix
- He could only finish seventh when rival Max Verstappen drove to first place
- The seven-time world champion says Mercedes cannot afford a similar screen
Lewis Hamilton has sent Mercedes a stark warning after their disastrous performance at the Monaco Grand Prix – admitting that Red Bull will be ‘very difficult’ to stop this season.
The seven-time world champion could only finish seventh as he gave up the championship lead to rival Max Verstappen, who drove off to finish first, while the pair’s rivalry intensified as he rode to first place above the Briton.
Hamilton has long dominated the top, but the 36-year-old fears that the roles will change as Verstappen continues to show improvements this season with a powerful Red Bull car.
Lewis Hamilton has warned Mercedes that Red Bull will be very difficult to stop this season
The British star was defeated by rival Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix last week
Speak against ESPNHamilton admitted that his Monaco performance cannot be repeated if he is to win a record eighth world title.
‘I told you in the beginning that she [Red Bull] have a car that wins the championship, and they will be very hard to beat, ”Hamilton said.
“ I’ve been serious about it all year and we’ve won races that we shouldn’t have won, like in Bahrain, but it’s not over yet.
‘There is still a long way to go, but we cannot afford another weekend like this.
It was a disastrous performance for Mercedes when Hamilton finished seventh and Bottas retired
Verstappen is showing more and more signs that he is ready to end Hamilton’s reign
“I’m grateful to have finished and got some points, the fastest lap, every point you get on such a bad weekend can hopefully contribute something in the end.”
In one of Mercedes’ worst performances in years, teammate Valterri Bottas had to retire due to a lug nut problem – with the Finnish star on lap 31, but his team failed to remove his right front tire.
But it was a memorable day for Verstappen, who has real hope that he can stop Hamilton’s championship stranglehold with another fantastic game.
The Dutchman has now risen above his British driver in the standings as their rivalry continues
His performance impressed Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko, who believes that Verstappen is growing as a driver.
“He has certainly reached a different maturity level,” Marko told Sky Germany.
“We kept him on his toes with fuel modes and the like. He had to understand a lot.
“When he started asking who had the fastest lap and what time, we immediately blocked him and said, ‘Forget all that!’
He said a first podium in Monaco would give the Dutch star ‘another boost of relief’, adding: ‘It should make his performance even more confident and controlled.
‘That was also very important for the future.’