Lewis Hamilton caught on camera spying on Max Verstappen's car at Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was caught studying Max Verstappen’s car moments after qualifying as the Mercedes star struggled in Spa. The seven-time champion was caught looking at Verstappen’s rear wing before moving around the left-hand side of the car.

The Mercedes star stopped to look at the Red Bull’s front wing design before walking over to the pen to be interviewed. Hamilton was 1.8 seconds slower than Verstappen in Q3 just weeks on from Mercedes picking up their first pole in Hungary.

The Silver Arrows were also more than a second off the pace of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who will start the race from the front of the grid after Verstappen was hit with grid penalties. After the session, Hamilton admitted he was already looking ahead to making sure next year’s car was correct.

He admitted Red Bull and Ferrari were “in another league” and stressed this could be down to a radical design difference. Hamilton explained: “To be 1.8 seconds behind is a real kick in the teeth. It is what it is.

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“It’s a car we continue to struggle with and definitely won’t miss it at the end of the year. For me, it’s just about focussing on how we build and design next year’s car. The other two teams ahead of us are in another league but our car looks so much different to theirs. So we have a lot of work to do, we will do the best we can with what we have for the rest of the season.”

It comes just weeks after Mercedes technical director Mike Elliot also admitted the team were looking at some of their rivals’ designs. He claimed the German manufacturer had been studying the Red Bull concept and admitted the team may be wrong with their 2022 design.

He commented: “The bodywork bit, the bit that’s visibly different, is probably not the key differentiator, it’s the detail in the floor design.

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“We’ve evaluated some concepts in that direction. I’m not going to say which way we’re going to go but we’ll look at that. I think we’d be silly not to have a level of humility that you think you’ve potentially got it wrong and you go and look at what everybody else has done.

“And that’s not just the Red Bull concept, that’s looking at all the concepts up and down the grid and saying what looks interesting and why.”

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