Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes miles away from Red Bull as Max Verstappen extends lead

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Lewis Hamilton finds himself trailing behind Max Verstappen by 32 points after the Dutchman stormed to victory in Austria, with Mercedes left sitting what the Briton thinks it ‘miles away’ from Red Bull.

Hamilton finished just off of the podium in fourth place, with Verstappen extending his lead over the seven-time world champion thanks to his win.

The Briton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas came in second while McLaren’s Lando Norris finished third, despite serving a five-second penalty during the race.

And Hamilton says the Silver Arrows are well adrift of their titler ivals.

“I said before the race it would be very hard to beat Max of course,” said Hamilton.

“Obviously frustrating to lose so much downforce at the rear of the car and to not be able to hold on to second place – A lot of points lost today.”

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Hamilton had reported he was struggling for pace with performance loss at the rear of his car, with Bottas within two seconds of him.

The Finn was originally told to not bring the fight to his team-mate, with his engineer saying: “Lewis has damage. Do not race him for now. We will review.”

However, Norris – in fourth at the time – was told to chase down the Mercedes of Bottas for position, knowing the Finn would be held up by a slowing Hamilton.

A lap later, Mercedes seemed to change their mind shortly after as Bottas was told he was “free to race” Hamilton for second place, before asking for a switch of drivers, despite Hamilton sitting second in the driver standings.

Hamilton added of his damage: “I wasn’t going over the kerb anymore than anyone else so I have no idea where it happened but there was a lot of damage.

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“I would’ve been second [if not for the damage]. I was in second when all of a sudden it obviously broke, It would’ve been an easy second.

“But not able to catch those guys ahead, we’re miles away from them.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, we need all hands on deck, which I know they already are.”

Despite Mercedes saying they would have some upgrades on the car this season, Hamilton reiterated their need for more, if they’re to continue to remain in the championship battle with Red Bull.

The defending world champion continued: “They’ve [Red Bull] brought a lot of upgrades clearly over these last few races.

“We haven’t brought any, we’ve got to bring some and find as much performance as possible otherwise this will be the result most often.”

Bottas swept past his team-mate, followed by Norris in the McLaren, as Hamilton pitted from fourth for a new set of hard tyres, eventually finishing fourth on the track.

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