Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull is making certain progress to close the gap in performance to Mercedes having seen Max Verstappen’s recent surge continue this season.

After making the switch to Honda power at the start of this year following the successful initial campaign the Japanese manufacturer enjoyed with sister squad Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s charge has been led by Max Verstappen resulting in two wins plus a pole position and another podium over the past four races going into the summer break.

Hamilton has duly paid credit to both Verstappen and Red Bull while he sees his rival’s progress as gaining on his Mercedes squad’s own development rates.

“Time will tell. I think he’s done a great job and they have clearly done a great job in quite a few of the races now,” Hamilton said. “Nevertheless, I think we need to just focus on ourselves and not be distracted by focusing on others.

“I think they will be quick here [Hungary] and there will be places like Singapore where they will probably be strong, but they are in general, slowly, collectively catching up.

“It’s easier to catch up than it is to stay ahead, to be the leader in many different aspects. But it’s great to see them progressing.

“We want the competition so we’ll be ready for the fight whatever the case.”

Hamilton and Verstappen have shared every F1 race victory stretching back to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – claimed by Valtteri Bottas – as Red Bull looks to reel in Ferrari in second place in the Formula 1 world constructors’ standings.

Red Bull has shaken-up its driver line-up for the second half of the season, promoting Alexander Albon at the expense of Pierre Gasly, as it aims to maximise its points haul with just 44 points splitting the Milton Keynes-based squad to the Scuderia with nine rounds to go.

 

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