Lewis Hamilton expects Red Bull to become a major threat to Mercedes in 2017 based on its recent progress.
Following a power unit upgrade from Renault, Red Bull was able to take pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix and looked quicker than Mercedes throughout the weekend. With Daniel Ricciardo with 0.4s of Hamilton in qualifying in Montreal, the defending champion still feels Mercedes has enough of an advantage this season but expects the gap to close further next year.
“For sure they’ve definitely made a step,” Hamilton said. “Do people know what they did? The engine upgrade … it’s taken a long time to get that upgrade, but it’s good for them to have good pace and now they’re closer to us to be in a battle. But I don’t think they’re quite with us, three tenths [in qualifying].
“It’s definitely good that they’re closer and I think they’ll continue to grow. Particularly on the engine side, it’s going to be the same engine next year so I think we look like having a much, much closer season next year I would imagine. On the power front at least.”
Hamilton starts from pole position in today’s Canadian Grand Prix, and is confident he won’t have any repeat of his early season problems off the line.
“I don’t remember much about the first races but I think the last couple of races the starts have been relatively good. Obviously the last race we didn’t do a start but I feel pretty confident it’s going to be good.”
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