Lewis Hamilton reckons Red Bull has a "ridiculous" margin of superiority over its rivals based on its performance in Bahrain. The McLaren driver said Red Bull had the most downforce of any team in 2009, and that it has maintained its advantage into the new season.
Sebastian Vettel took pole for Red Bull at Sakhir and was set to win the race until his engine lost power and he dropped to fourth.
"The Red Bull is ridiculously faster than anyone else's car," Hamilton said. "It's insane. The downforce they had on their car last year was at some points just about double what we had. Even at the end of the year they had so much more than us, even though we had won a couple of grands prix. They have both got the fastest car by quite a big step. They should be quite a lot further ahead in general."
Although Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was able to pressure Vettel even before his problems at Sakhir, Hamilton does not think even Ferrari is a match for Red Bull on raw speed.
"Fernando, I think, was very quick in the race and they are obviously a little bit closer, but it's a good half second [deficit]," said Hamilton.
The Briton rates his McLaren team as being in a battle with Mercedes right behind the leaders.
"We are kind of on the same level as Mercedes I would say," Hamilton said. "We just did maybe a better job at the weekend but it's a battle between us and Mercedes to see who can step up and improve faster and do a better job."