Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise on Red Bull and their legendary car designer Adrian Newey, but refused to comment on Max Verstappen’s performances.
Red Bull are leading the way in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships heading into the final eight races of the season.
If they continue their current form, it will be the first time Red Bull have won both titles since 2013.
The Milton Keynes outfit enjoyed their most dominant display of the season last time out at Spa-Francorchamps as Verstappen won from 14th on the grid ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s F1 Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton praised Newey and Red Bull for making the most of the new regulation changes but didn’t mention his 2021 F1 title rival.
“I’m more impressed with Adrian Newey and his team,” Hamilton replied when asked what he thought of Verstappen in 2022. “I think it is a great team. They’ve generally had really great cars for some time.
“They used to have really high ride height and had more drag than before, and I think they’ve realised and experienced this year that their engine isn’t slower than others, it was more that they had a lot more drag in previous years. They’ve done a fantastic job and anything I’ve said in the past about the team, I didn’t mean it in a negative way.”
In 2011, Hamilton was critical of Red Bull, describing the team simply as a “drinks company”.
“Red Bull are not a manufacturer, they are a drinks company,” Hamilton said as quoted by The Guardian. “It’s a drinks company versus McLaren/Ferrari history. I don’t know what their plan is.
“Our team is building to become a bigger manufacturer, like Ferrari, and I can only see our team being there for a ridiculous amount of time. It is a pure-bred racing team.”
Reflecting on those comments, the Mercedes driver said: “I think years ago I said something about them being a drinks company, and I was just really highlighting that you would bet more on a car company, but they’ve proved me wrong and everyone.
“But also knowing that Adrian did his thesis on ground effect cars when he was at university, it’s no surprise what he has done and created this year. It is impressive but I believe in the young guns in my team and that we will catch up.”