Lewis Hamilton admits he is always surprised by the ever-changing gap between Mercedes and Red Bull as the Silver Arrows linger behind their long-term rivals. The Brit has managed to get closer to Max Verstappen during the past two races in the US and Mexico but is expected to be further away this weekend in the Brazilian Grand Prix given their poor straight-line speed and the huge home straight in Interlagos.
Mercedes have failed to live up to their usual standards this season as they struggled to adapt to the new regulations brought in for this season. The team have failed to collect the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2013 as Red Bull pipped them to the crown. The drinks manufacturer sits 249 clear of the team they battled for the title last year highlighting their complete dominance.
However, the German outfit have improved as the season has progressed with Hamilton closing the gap to Verstappen in recent weeks, taking the second spot on the podium two weeks in a row. The seven-time world champion’s form has helped keep Mercedes in with an unlikely chance of second in the standings, needing to overturn a 40-point gap to Ferrari in the last two weeks of the season.
Ahead of the race at Interlagos Hamilton admitted he never knows what the gap to Red Bull will be, given the varying performance of the W13 over the course of the season.
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There are more points available than usual to the teams this weekend with Interlagos playing host to the third sprint race of the season. Hamilton will therefore have to be on top form as he looks to maximise his points before the end of the season.