Lewis Hamilton thinks Formula 1 has entered a period of unprecedented dominance by a single team.
“I’ve never seen a car that fast,” said the seven time world champion, after reigning champion Max Verstappen scythed his way through the field from 15th at Jeddah to complete another easy Red Bull 1-2.
“When we were fast,” the Mercedes driver explained, “we weren’t that fast.
“I think this is the fastest car I’ve ever seen, especially compared to the rest. I don’t know how or why, but it passed me very fast.
“I didn’t even bother to block because there was such a big difference,” said Hamilton, referring to when Verstappen passed him on the high-speed street circuit.
“You have to give credit to what Red Bull has done,” he added. “I think the gap they’ve opened up to the rest is bigger than what we’ve probably seen since Mercedes in 2014.
“It’s a serious gap and I guess everyone needs to work harder.”
More incredibly for the sport at present, however, is that Mercedes and Ferrari do not appear to be the teams closest to Red Bull’s heels.
For now at least, ‘best of the rest’ belongs to Silverstone-based Aston Martin.
“It’s still a long season,” Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack told Sky Deutschland. “I don’t think Red Bull will be able to maintain that advantage.
“We have two big teams behind us who will do everything to catch up. So my message for the fans is to be patient and keep watching Formula 1.”
Indeed, Ferrari’s car appears to be close to Red Bull in qualifying, with race pace and tyre degradation a particular problem.
Mercedes, on the other hand, has now decided to scrap its failed ‘no sidepods’ concept.
“We know we didn’t make the right decisions over the winter,” Hamilton said, “but I think we can make up some of that ground quicker than we normally would.
“So all is not lost.”