Tag Archives: Max Verstappen

Mercedes Versus Red Bull

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

As the start of a new Formula One season is right around the corner, it’s time for another chapter in the battle between Mercedes AMG Petronas and Red Bull Racing. Mercedes has won the last three Constructors Championships with Red Bull’s last title coming in 2013. The last three years have also seen a Mercedes driver win the Formula One Championship as Lewis Hamilton took home the title in 2014 and 2015, while Nico Rosberg literally took the title home in 2016 as he surprisingly announced his retirement from the sport last year at the age of 25. Albeit that Hamilton and Rosberg were teammates, they engaged in a fierce battle on the track as Rosberg was tired of playing second fiddle to Hamilton who is a three-time champion. But even as good as Hamilton and Rosberg have been for Mercedes, it didn’t prevent Red Bull from surging towards the end of the 2016 Formula One season.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has been driving for Red Bull since 2014 and he has four victories to his credit. In 2014 and 2016, Ricciardo finished third in the driver standings to Hamilton and Rosberg, while he had eight trips to the podium last year. Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate is Max Verstappen who made his debut with the team last year at the Spanish Grand Prix. Verstappen was only 18-years old at the time and he would go on to win the race as he was totally unfazed by racing on the big stage. Verstappen would not win anymore races last season, but he would podium seven times in all to finish fifth in the standings as the future looks bright for he and Ricciardo at Red Bull.

Like the entire racing world, Mercedes would be thrown for a loop with Rosberg’s shocking retirement. However Mercedes would scramble to find Rosberg’s replacement as they signed Finland’s Valtteri Bottas who raced for Williams Martini Racing last year. But aside from Rosberg’s departure, technical director Paddy Lowe also left Mercedes to join the Williams Martini team. And could the departure’s of Rosberg and Lowe be just the opening that Red Bull need to overtake Mercedes here in 2017?

Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton

But in spite of the upheaval at Mercedes, they still have Toto Wolff who is the minority owner and executive director, along with Hamilton who is arguably the best driver on the circuit. Over the last three years Hamilton has taken home the checkered flag 31 times with his stiffest competition typically being Rosberg. The rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton reached a boiling a point last year which at times left mangled cars on the track. And as something had to give, Rosberg walked away from the sport after winning his title.

To me I expect Hamilton to drive with a much clearer head this season as he won’t have to answer as many questions about Rosberg and I don’t anticipate any animosity between he and Bottas. Bottas will be out to prove that he deserves to drive for Mercedes, while also providing protection for Hamilton. And it will be important for Bottas to have a good showing in order to hold off the charges of Ricciardo and Verstappen who like Hamilton will be the favorites to claim the Formula One Title. But even if Ricciardo and Verstappen are unable to overtake Hamilton, a strong season on their part could see Red Bull top Mercedes for the Constructors Championship which in itself would be an accomplishment.

The action is set begin tomorrow at the Australian Grand Prix where there will be plenty of pomp and pageantry to commence a new season. But after Hamilton barely missed a third consecutive title by just five points last year, he could be extra motivated this time around which would be good for him and Mercedes, while being devastating for everyone else on the circuit.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Red Bull’s Resurgence

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Red Bull Racing has been on the Formula One scene since 2005. And in that time Red Bull has won four constructor championships while also having a driver in Sebastian Vettel win four Formula One Championships as well. But Red Bull began to slip when Vettel decided to leave in favor of Ferrari in 2014 with the last two years have been dominated by Mercedes and their marquis driver Lewis Hamilton. And even though that Mercedes will more than likely win both the driver and constructor championships here in 2016, Red Bull is closing the gap.

Daniel Ricciardo

When Vettel left Red Bull, it opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to become the team’s marquis driver. In 2014, Ricciardo won three races as he finished third in the driver standings. But the gap between Ricciardo and the two Mercedes drivers in Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who finished ahead of him in the driver’s standings was huge. That large gap would get larger in 2015 as Ricciardo finished eighth in the driver’s standings, while Red Bull took fourth in the constructor’s standings as Mercedes was leaving them in the dust. And although that Hamilton and Rosberg are first and second here in 2016, that gap between Mercedes and Red Bull is shrinking.

Red Bull decided to make the change from Daniil Kvyat to the 18-year old Max Verstappen to team with Ricciardo for the fifth race of the year in the Spanish Grand Prix. The race in Barcelona was highlighted by Hamilton and Rosberg crashing at the beginning of the race which left things up for grabs as far as who the winner would be. And it was Verstappen who turned heads on the track that day as he made his Formula One debut in a very loud fashion by winning the race. Since the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercdes has won each race, but Red Bull has been there with them on the podium which was highlighted by Ricciardo and Verstappen taking second and third respectively yesterday at the German Grand Prix. Ricciardo is currently 65 points behind Rosberg for second place in the driver’s standings. But with the current struggles of Rosberg who took fourth yesterday on his home soil of Germany, there is the possibility that Ricciardo could catch him for second place by season’s end. Mercedes will more than likely win the constructor’s championship once again, but Red Bull is currently in second place with their chief competition being Ferrari. This is the same Ferrari team that Vettel left Red Bull for as he felt that they were on their way down.

But the future of Red Bull is bright with the racing ability of Ricciardo and Verstappen who are guided by the team’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey and they could be ready to make a surge in the second half of the season.

After yesterday’s race, the action on the track will cool down for the summer break as the next race won’t take place until August 28 in Belgium. But Red Bull has plenty of momentum for themselves as they will look to continue battling Mercedes for podium spots and prestige on the Formula One circuit.

facebooktwittergoogle_plus