Red Bull now has five wins in a row, four of them by Verstappen. That puts the Mercedes team and Hamilton, who have been spoiled for success for years, in a completely new situation. After seven years of dominance, the Silver Arrows are suddenly the hunters, and the Briton had to realize: “Max is moving away and we just can’t do anything. We’re miles away from him. There is a lot of work waiting now. “
Verstappen drove to his next success in Spielberg almost playfully and is now 32 points ahead of Hamilton in the overall standings. If the Dutchman hadn’t had a flat tire while in the lead in Baku, the lead would have been even greater.
“I did my best”
The 36-year-old Hamilton actually wants to be the first driver to become world champion for the eighth time this year. But the ice cold and now flawless Verstappen threatens to prevent that. “I did my best, I couldn’t have done more,” said Hamilton. After a defect in his car, he was only fourth. The best start to the season of his career with three wins and a second place has long been forgotten after many setbacks.
“Those were painful races, but we keep our heads up,” said the 98-time Grand Prix winner. Hamilton knows that he has been overtaken by Red Bull because the team understands the current car better and is still developing it technically. According to its own statements, however, Mercedes is already focusing more on 2022. In view of the 14 races still outstanding, however, nothing is lost. “We saw what might not be going well. If we can manage that, we will have a car that can win, ”said Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff. “The momentum is going in the wrong direction right now, but it is far from over. We fight as long as it is mathematically possible. “
Hope for a turnaround at the home GP
At the moment, the pressure on Mercedes is particularly high. Hamilton’s home game at Silverstone is on the program in two weeks. He has won six of the last seven races not far from his home town of Stevenage. It is his route, 140,000 fans can be there and hope for a victory for their hero. Nowhere would a Red Bull bankruptcy hurt more than in the heart of British motorsport.
You now have to “look at every nook and cranny” so that you can do better on the other routes, says Wolff. It does not only apply to the car, but also to the employees. “The whole thing is a life experiment. Our values are the team’s immune system. It has to work even if things don’t go well, ”said the 49-year-old Viennese and urged his team. “It’s a journey, and the current World Championship fight is a difficult part of the journey. A new experience for all of us. “
Verstappen surprised himself
Because what began as an exciting duel in March has long since become a show of force by Red Bull and Verstappen. The two start-to-finish victories in Spielberg surprised the 23-year-old himself. “I didn’t expect it to be so dominant. I was just always faster than the others, ”said the Dutchman. From 2010 to 2013 Sebastian Vettel won four world titles for Red Bull and made Dietrich Mateschitz’s team number one. Since the beginning of the hybrid era, there have only been isolated victories. They could never keep up with Mercedes for long – until now.
The deficit spurs the German racing team on. “I’m building on the learning curve,” said Wolff. In the long term, the difficult situation will make his team more successful. “At some point we will look back and say: That was necessary.” The Viennese also believes that Red Bull will end the further development of the current racing car in the coming weeks because, like Mercedes, they have to concentrate more on the future. Then it’s about getting the most out of the available material. “We have to make fewer mistakes and understand the car, then we are absolutely on the hunt,” said Wolff.