Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he was not surprised when Lewis Hamilton outpaced F1's new reigning champion in Bahrain two weeks ago.

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he was not surprised when Lewis Hamilton outpaced F1's new reigning champion in Bahrain two weeks ago.

Much has been written about the new pairing at McLaren, with many observers predicting that Jenson Button will need a few races to get up to speed with the team's incumbent Hamilton.

But in a joint interview involving both Hamilton, 25, and the F1 chief executive, Ecclestone seemed to indicate that he expects the gap between the British pair will remain.

When asked by Germany's Sport Bild if he was surprised to see Hamilton in front of Button in Bahrain, Ecclestone answered: "I would have been very surprised if he (Hamilton) was not."

Why? "Because he is quite simply faster."

Not surprisingly, Ecclestone's comments were not included in the English-language transcript of the interview posted on the official website F1.com.

But in both German and English-language versions, the 79-year-old was not shy to make his feelings clear about the likely travels of F1's three new teams this season.

When Hamilton said "never say never!" when Virgin's title prospects were discussed, Ecclestone quipped: "In this case I can (say never).

"I don't think that the new teams will raise their performance significantly over the season," he added.