Hamilton: How are Williams or McLaren three seconds slower?

2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

On the eve of what could be his fifth Formula 1 World Championship coronation, Lewis Hamilton laments the lack of competition in the top flight while questioning how his former McLaren team and Williams can be so far off the pace.

The reality of modern Formula 1 is that only drivers from the top three teams can win races, and dominate the podium with Mercedes ruling the roost, Ferrari closest in the chase and Red Bull hanging in there to pick up the pieces and on occasions deliver a surprise coup.

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is massive, in effect turning Formula 1 into a championship of two tiers with The Big Three in their own world while The Rest rarely getting a sniff of the podium.

Speaking ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton told AS, “There shouldn’t be such a big difference between first place and the last. There shouldn’t be such a big difference between the cars. How are Williams or McLaren three seconds slower per lap? That’s too much…”

Lewis: Fighting from corner to corner is something which is fundamental to our sport

Both Williams and McLaren, once mighty forces in Formula 1, toil at the wrong end of the grid way off the pace and very little hope of progressing up the grid in the current era.

The gulf between the big three has grown over the years, creating two contests under the facade of one. Force India driver Sergio Perez is resigned to competing for Best of the Rest knowing that challenging the Big Three is out of the question.

The last podium scored by a driver not driving a Ferrari, was when Perez inherited third in Baku. A rare anomaly.

Hamilton added, “Formula 1 has the potential to be the best racing series that exists, but you have to watch MotoGP and to see wheel-to-wheel racing, fighting from corner to corner is something fundamental to our sport.”

Perez: You cannot let F1 be separated in two categories