ZANDVOORT, Netherlands -- Lewis Hamilton is impressed by the ability of Red Bull's chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, to consistently oversee the design of front-running Formula One cars.
Hamilton went head-to-head with Red Bull's Max Verstappen for the title last year, but a regulation change this season has dropped Mercedes down the order.
Meanwhile, Red Bull has retained an advantage at the front of the field, with Verstappen leading the championship by 93 points from teammate Sergio Perez with eight races remaining.
Asked if he was impressed by Verstappen's performances this year, Hamilton switched the conversation to Newey and the Red Bull design office, expressing how impressed he had been by the team as a whole.
"It's more that I'm impressed with Adrian Newey and his team," he said. "I think it is a great team; they've generally had really great cars for some time.
"They've done a fantastic job and anything I've said in the past about the team, I didn't mean it in a negative way. I think years ago I said something about them being a drinks company, and I was just really highlighting that you would bet more on a car company, but they've proved me wrong and everyone else.
"But also knowing that Adrian did his thesis on ground effect cars when he was at university, it's no surprise what he has done and created this year. It is impressive but I believe in the young guns in my team and that we will catch up."
Hamilton, who is 138 points off Verstappen in the standings and out of realistic title contention, said the remainder of his season would be spent working towards moving Mercedes back up the grid in 2023.
"I still love the challenge of fighting this car, because you get in it and it is a fight," he said. "Jeez, the amount of engineering that we do to dial it in is tricky and I would say that it probably increases your accessibility to improve your engineering side. So I'm enjoying that.
"There will be a lot of information to gain in this second half of the season and as a driver I want to figure out how I can improve and make sure things like the last race don't happen [again]. Just now I am really focused on trying to articulate exactly what I am feeling in the car and what I want in next year's car, and making sure it gets done.
"It all moves so quickly and they've already go to sign off the brakes or the front suspension now and the gearbox gets signed off now, so everything gets done so far in advance, so making sure you catch them before they sign off those things and get things in the pipeline that maybe in the past we have not had time to really focus on and get a better foundation for the future.
"I'm enjoying it, and we've won the last eight constructors' titles, I have every bit of faith in my team that we will get there, just with the cost cap and [limited] wind tunnel time it is not as easy and simple as it was before. But that doesn't mean we can't get there."