World champion Lewis Hamilton says the 2019 Honda F1 engine is within 10 horsepower compared to Mercedes and Ferrari and expects Red Bull to be more dangerous than last year.
This year, Red Bull switched to Honda’s engines after Japanese manufacturer worked with Toro Rosso in 2018 and the first signs are encouraging, both in terms of power and reliability.
Verstappen has qualified fourth in Australia and split two Ferraris, finished third in the race and overtook Vettel on track.
“Undoubtedly, Red Bull has a much better power unit this year,” said Hamilton.
“I think their performance is very, very close, I believe they are within 10 HP of the best car or something like that.”
“If you look at their speed on the straights on the GPS, they are as fast as we are,” Hamilton said, failing to emphasize that Red Bull used less downforce than Mercedes in Australia.
“It’s a great start for them and I really hope their reliability will be good and they will really be in the fight.”
Hamilton expects closer fight in Bahrain
After the Mercedes dominance in Australia, where Ferrari and Red Bull beat Ferrari for seven and eight tenths respectively and crused into comfortable 1-2 victory, Hamilton expects Bahrain to be much harder.
“This weekend will be closer,” he said.
“I know some people thought we were sandbagging in the testing, but we did not think we’d be in front of everyone. According to the information I had we were behind.”
“I’m happy we’ve been the fastest in the last race, but I know it could change here.”
“I’m just as excited as you are to see how that pans out.”