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Hamilton: "Something's up" if Red Bull doesn't win F1 Japanese GP by 30 seconds

Lewis Hamilton expects Red Bull to resume its dominance at the Japanese Grand Prix, suggesting something would be amiss if it did not win Suzuka's Formula 1 race handsomely.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Red Bull suffered a mysterious lack of performance at last weekend's Singapore race, which led to both drivers dropping out of qualifying in the second phase as neither Max Verstappen nor Sergio Perez could improve on their final Q2 laps.

Perez had stated that Suzuka "should be one of the best circuits" for the RB19 package, which has been an exceptionally strong car in corners that require high-speed downforce and fast changes of direction.

Adding to Perez's comments, Hamilton ladled praise on Red Bull's current car and suggested that it should be "30 seconds" ahead of the rest of the field in race trim.

"I would think that if they're not 30 seconds ahead like they have been in the past, then something's up," Hamilton said.

"As Checo said, it was obviously a difficult weekend in the last one, but that car should be phenomenal here. They've been phenomenal all year long. They've aced pretty much every circuit.

"It's going to be great to watch that car in general. Normally you would come here and it's beautiful to watch the laps that they do. The whole team and the drivers are doing an amazing job with the package they have.

"It'll be interesting to see how the weekend goes. I hope we'll be closer, and I hope they're not as fast as the 30-second gap."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Reflecting on Mercedes' own pace at the Marina Bay circuit, Hamilton reckoned that Mercedes had not been too far in front of the race pace of the Ferraris and McLaren of Lando Norris - but added that he did not necessarily expect a repeat at Suzuka.

In last year's qualifying session at the Japanese circuit, Hamilton and George Russell were outpaced by the Red Bulls and Ferraris - and overlapped with the Alpines on single-lap pace. Hamilton took fifth in a rain-shortened grand prix.

"I don't know whether that's really the case [that Mercedes had the best race pace]. Carlos was managing at the front. We were all relatively close, I would say, at the front," Hamilton added.

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"But what a great race it was, just to have us all that close up front. I think this weekend, I don't anticipate having the performance we had in the last race.

"We work very hard to continue to try and push the envelope that we have. I'm hoping that we're not terribly far off this weekend."

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