Lewis Hamilton has described Red Bull’s RB19 as the “fastest car I have seen” in the early weeks of the 2023 season. The seven-time world champion has confirmed that Red Bull is streets ahead of the rest of the F1 grid right now, with consecutive 1-2 finishes for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at the start of the campaign further evidence of such.
So, can Red Bull break the record for the fastest-ever time recorded in an F1 race this season?
Verstappen and Perez will certainly have to go some length to match the 372.5 km/h recorded by Valtteri Bottas in his Williams car at the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix. At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Perez – who would win fairly comfortably – clocked a top speed of 311 km/h on one of the fastest street circuits in the sport at Jeddah.
However, the RB19 did record a speed of 326 km/h in pre-season testing, and with some faster circuits to come on the 2023 calendar there is the possibility that Red Bull could yet beat Bottas’ seven-year record.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 22, 2023
The Fastest Around
Either way, the omens look pretty good for Christian Horner’s team. One of their fiercest rivals has already described them as the fastest around and they’ve trounced the field in the opening two races of the season. Is it any wonder that Verstappen is as short as 1/5 in the outright F1 betting markets, or that Red Bull is 1/20 to win the Constructors’ Championship? The omens are not good for a competitive F1 campaign, that’s for sure…
The Italian Job
If that high-speed record is to fall this season, Monza is surely the destination should the weather be good in Italy in September.
The clock regularly exceeds 360 km/h on Monza’s circuit, with its flat straights and forgiving curves, and so built for speed is the track that it was chosen by Nike as a destination for their ‘Breaking2’, where marathon runners aimed to break the two-hour mark. The great Eliud Kipchoge clocked 2:00:25.
Kimi Raikkonen recorded the fastest lap in F1 history here at the ‘Temple of Speed’ in 2018, and so there will be plenty watching with interest as Red Bull takes to Monza later this year.
Grab the wheel for the first ever official on-board simulation lap of the Las Vegas Strip Circuit™! With speeds reaching over 215mph (345kmh), heavy breaking zones, overtaking opportunities and walls just inches from the edge of the circuit.#LasVegasGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/oQAqEPJypW
— F1 Las Vegas (@F1LasVegas) November 11, 2022
The Italian circuit may yet have a rival for its crown as the undisputed speed king of Formula 1. Las Vegas will host its first Grand Prix in 2023, and while little is known about the street circuit there from a competitive perspective, the early signs suggest it too has been designed to achieve breakneck speeds.
Sin City’s desert location means that temperatures average 70˚F in November – warm but not too hot as to make a speed record attempt impossible, while the track itself has been designed to see speeds of up to 340 km/h (at least) reached along its lengthy straight between turns nine and eleven.
So there will be plenty of chances for F1’s speed record to be broken in 2023… will Verstappen or Perez in their RB19 be the ones to do it?