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We’re just six races into the 2021 season, and what a rollercoaster of emotions I’ve been through! Despite having a couple of less than exciting races, there was enough action just in Azerbaijan to make up for that, let alone the rest of them. We’ve seen wet racing, tyres destroyed, and the closest championship battle we’ve seen for many years, and there are still so many races to come. Here are some of my favourite moments from the last 6 races, although it was impossible to choose.

Bahrain:

The season opened where it all but closed last year, in Sakhir, and it did not disappoint. We saw the first of what would be many Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton battles, this one going Hamilton’s way. Max tried desperately hard to overtake Hamilton when pitting onto fresh tyres, and he succeeded. It became clear very quickly, however, that Max got through off the track and, therefore, the place would have to be given back. This was the last opportunity for the young Dutchman, and he ended the race in P2 but would have won had he waited to pass on a less windy part of the track. This gave us the first glimpse of the biggest title fights in years, and we immediately knew the 2021 season would be different.

Italy:

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix came next and got us excited for different reasons entirely. A wet race! Within seconds of the race start, we could see it would be a dramatic one as none of the drivers could be seen through all the spray. If we couldn’t see them at home, it must have been impossible to see from inside the Formula 1 cars. Within a few laps, cars were beginning to spin and slide all over the track and while it, unfortunately, ended the race for Latifi, and we saw a horrific crash between Bottas and Russell, it also spun Hamilton off the track and almost into the wall, almost costing him a race finish. He came back from P9 to finish an impressive P2, much to everyone’s surprise. This race also brought one of my favourite driver/engineer moments in recent times. Mick also spun into the wall during the race, and the calm and collected nature of his engineer Gary saved him from panicking, and the F1 rookie’s race continued after a front wing change. We’re very used to hearing very technical and heated conversations between drivers and engineers during a race, and it was lovely to experience the supportive role these engineers also play.

Portugal:

The race in Portugal was far from the most thrilling but did have one moment, which was nice to see, again involving Mick Schumacher. The young German driver was able to overtake Latifi during the race, and therefore, his Haas car did not finish with only his teammate behind him. While, of course, the battle for the bottom places is rarely important or even noticed during the race, but it was nice to see. Knowing how underpowered the Haas car is compared to even their nearest rivals and the constant press attention the team has been subjected to, none of which is his fault, it was nice to see him take a place on the track. I’m sure that improved his confidence as a rookie F1 driver hugely, given he’d spun in the two races before this.

Spain:

Barcelona was yet another race showcased a Hamilton vs Verstappen showdown, as every race seemed to have at this stage. What made this race special was that the role of strategy became so much more obvious compared to most races. With the front running teams often going for almost identical strategies during a race, it is rare to see a strategic win as we saw in Spain. Hamilton pitted late onto fresh tyres to take Max Verstappen close to the end of the race, and that he did. It surprised everyone both in the paddock and at home as the pit crew appeared in the pitlane at the very last moment. This caught Red Bull completely by surprise, and they immediately knew they’d been outwitted on this occasion, and Mercedes were likely to take the win. Even if this was another race with the two drivers taking all of the glory, this one showed a different side to the sport.

Monaco:

The race in Monaco was surprisingly underwhelming, with very little surprise apart from the pace of Ferrari and the lack thereof at Mercedes. After weeks of Red Bull vs Mercedes rhetoric, it was interesting to see a different team on top. My favourite moment in Monaco was seeing Charles Leclerc on pole, even if it ultimately went disastrously wrong on Sunday. Seeing the Monegasque driver on top at his home GP was really exciting and knowing that Ferrari was on the path to fighting back was lovely to hear.

Azerbaijan:

Asking me to choose a favourite moment from the Grand Prix in Baku is totally impossible! I loved every second of the drama we saw during that race. Of course, I’m most happy that both Stroll and Verstappen were okay after such scary crashes, but the action was intense. We went from thinking the title would stay in Verstappen’s hands to thinking Lewis would take over after Max’s DNF to realising neither of them got points. From this, we got the most random but by far most exciting podium of 2021 so far. Sergio finally getting the Red Bull to work in his favour was thrilling, even if it was due to Max’s misfortune. What made it so crazy was seeing Vettel in P2, however. Aston Martin struggled throughout the season and seemed so off the pace, but the 4-time world champion pulled through. Hopefully, he has found some new confidence that will ensure he continues to fight at the front of the grid, as we know he’s capable of doing. I can’t ignore Pierre Gasly either, as he was strong all weekend and totally deserved that podium. Seeing Gasly succeed after all of the dramas of recent years will never stop making me very happy. He is such a talented driver and deserves to be a front runner in years to come.

Drama already unfolded even before starting the race as Polesitter Charles Leclerc has experienced some gearbox issues on his out lap. Later on, Ferrari confirmed that he would not be racing this afternoon. This is a hard one to swallow for the Monegasque after claiming pole in his home Grand Prix; however, he will now be on the sidelines.

It’s lights out and away we go in Monaco! 

It’s a good start from Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, and we see a lock-up from Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1. It’s been a somewhat aggressive start from Verstappen, who now has a decent lead over Bottas in the front of the field.  Carlos Sainz also got away very well. According to replays, Bottas had a slightly better start than the Dutchman. He might have been able to cut back on any other track once Verstappen went through him to take the racing line, but not on a street circuit like this. 

We’re going into Lap 2, and all 20 drivers moved up one place after the DNS from Charles Leclerc, and we see Max Verstappen earning the fastest lap. In the top 10, there doesn’t appear to have been much change, but that’s Monaco for you. Nikita Mazepin received the first black and white flag of the race for breaching track limits in Lap 14. He’s crossed the line far too many times. We’re only 16 laps into the race, but another infringement will result in a penalty for the Russian.

Lap 19, and we can hear Verstappen on the team radio saying, “For these tyres, I’m happy.” So far, it seems that everything has gone according to plan for the Dutchman. Not for Norris, who has now been handed a black and white flag.  Lance Stroll launches his Aston Martin over the kerb where Leclerc crashed in Saturday qualifying in Lap 21 but saved it from hitting the barrier just in time.  We’re in Lap 22 when we hear Bottas complain about the left front tyre that seems to be starting to drop. As seen on the AWS tyre condition graphic, Bottas has indeed 20% left of his tyres.  Lap 26 and Max Verstappen sounds very happy again. This time he mentions to be having “Quite a good front end” on the team radio. Something that used to be a problem during the free practices has been improved with the Red Bull. 

Lewis Hamilton is the first to make a pit stop in Lap 30 and made a swift pitstop of 2.2 seconds  Lap 31, and there is a disaster pit stop for Bottas. which causes a lot of chaos.  Three tyres came off easily, but the front right refused to come off. We saw the wheel gun shattering into shards, and the team was unable to remove his tyre, forcing the Finn to retire from the race. Meanwhile, we hear a fuming Lewis Hamilton on the team radio: “I don’t understand, guys. I saved the tyres to go longer, and you made me stop before.

Max Verstappen, the race leader, pits on lap 35. A short two-second stop for the hard tyres there, and it’s all looking quite good for the Dutch Red Bull driver now. Still, in Lap 35, Hamilton dropped two positions by pitting, and he’s just been warned that he’s in threat from Sergio Perez, who is currently leading the race and has some breathing room to extend his lead. Lewis sounds very unhappy. Sergio Perez has finally pitted for a set of hard compound tyres on Lap 36. It’s a smooth stop, and he returns to the track in fourth place. Red Bull is so far experiencing an amazing day, while Mercedes seems to be having a disastrous one.

Now we’re on Lap 50, and things are starting to get interesting. Sainz is putting a lot of pressure on Verstappen, and while the Red Bull still has a three-second lead, the Ferrari has been fast all weekend. Lap 53 and things are getting unfortunate for Daniel Ricciardo, who is currently in P12, as his teammate will lap him. While he begins to get to know his McLaren, it’s not the weekend he expected.  For the Aussie, today is a race to forget after two poles and a win.

Verstappen and Sainz are separated by only 2.7 seconds in Lap 56. This race has felt like a parade from the start, but if the Ferrari keeps up this pace, there could be some surprises near the finish. Lap 58 and Lando Norris just informed the team over the radio that his car is undriveable on these tyres. If this keeps up, he’ll soon have Perez on his tail. The youngster sounds very concerned. Sergio Perez has closed the gap on Norris to four seconds in Lap 61, but that gap isn’t closing fast enough when you consider he has to go past him somewhere.  Unless, of course, the tyres will lose their condition, in which case Norris will be in serious danger.

We’re in Lap 63, and Lance Stroll is under investigation for supposedly failing to maintain his position in the pit lane to the right. After such a strong performance, a time-penalty might be devastating for the Canadian. Carlos Sainz is starting to drop from his position in Lap 65. He’s 7.2 seconds behind Verstappen but might be satisfied with second place today, which would be a fantastic first podium for his new Italian team. Were in Lap 69 and a set of fresh soft tyres for Hamilton. This seems like Mercedes’ acceptance that Hamilton will not finish in the serious points at the front of the field. Therefore he will rather try for the fastest lap bonus point.

The stewards investigated the incident involving Stroll in Lap 70 and concluded that he did not go over to the right side of the pit lane, deciding that the Aston Martin did not break the rules. Meanwhile, in the same lap, Hamilton is about to be lapped by the race leader Max Verstappen. Hamilton has just set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 72. The defending world champion’s gamble to switch to a fresh set of soft tyres might just pay off, though it’s still been a very frustrating afternoon for Mercedes.

Lando Norris appeared to be struggling to keep Perez behind him a few laps ago, but the McLaren has found some more grip and pace and appears ready to finish on the podium. Max Verstappen is now one lap away from winning the Monaco Grand Prix and taking over the Drivers’ Championship lead for the first time this season.  For the Dutchman, it’s been a parade, but he really hasn’t put a foot wrong today. 

A true display of strength from the young driver hoping to help Red Bull win the championship this season. Max Verstappen and Red Bull have had a phenomenal day!  Not only does the Dutchman win in Monaco, but he also takes over the lead in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career. 

Carlos Sainz comes in second, with Lando Norris completing the podium in third!

It’s lights out, and away we go! Max Verstappen got the better start than pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and passed the 7-time World Champion into Turn One with a golden overtake move on the inside. All twenty drivers made it safely through the first corner; meanwhile, Charles Leclerc made it past Valtteri Bottas and made it into third place.

It’s Lap 5, and the stewards are putting Pierre Gasly under investigation, who seemed to be out of position at the start of the race. Verstappen built a half-second lead over Hamilton in the first few laps, but the Mercedes is doing better by a tenth or two out of the Dutchman’s time, and we see Lewis earning the fastest lap. We hear Yuki Tsunoda on his team radio Lap 8 say on “Engine’s stopped, engine’s stopped,” Later on, we can see on the replay footage that the display on the steering wheel turned off, which can be signs of a gearbox problem. Due to that, the Safety Car is deployed. 

During the Safety Car, many pitstops occur, with the most shocking one coming from Antonio Giovinazzi on Lap 10. It appeared that the pit crew delivered empty tyres, which made it impossible to assemble them on the car. Meanwhile, we see a decent double pitstop coming from Williams, and both drivers switch to the medium tyres.

It’s Lap 11 and the Safety Car is back in, it’s now up to Max Verstappen to determine the pace of the restart. In the last chicane Max decided to increase with full speed. The Safety Car seems to have had no effect on the Dutchman’s Red Bull. Pierre Gasly is no longer under investigation, instead, he has been given a five-second time penalty for being out of place at the start. Since this is a data-driven decision, the stewards had an easier time coming to a conclusion.

Tyre concerns with Max Verstappen as we can see him having a clearly blistered right rear tyre. Replays of Hamilton’s car reveal that his right rear tyre is suffering from severe blistering as well. In true Hamilton style, he sets a new fastest lap during Lap 21 as the Mercedes improved a tenth or two off Verstappen’s time, while the Red Bull appears quite happy to keep the reigning World Champion out of the DRS range. We’re on Lap 23, and Gasly has taken his 5-second penalty and drops to P19. 

Mercedes was the first to act with a pitstop for Bottas on Lap 25, and the Finn has rejoined the race in clear air. Lap 26 and Verstappen is into the pits just as Hamilton was closing the gap on the race leader. Max can’t be too happy about this one as it was a prolonged stop from Red Bull and very unusual for the team as it was 4.2 seconds. It appeared to be a last-minute call.

Sergio Perez, who has yet to pit, cleared the way for Verstappen, who has already done so. Hamilton has been insisting to Bono on the team radio that his tyres are in good shape and that he wants to stay out. We can also hear that Toto has been complaining to the FIA race control about Hamilton’s time loss to Mazepin ignoring blue flags on the radio. 

Hamilton makes a successful 2.7-second pit stop on Lap 29, but Verstappen is safe as he passes while Hamilton is still in the pit lane. On the other hand, Hamilton is now on the newer tyres, but Verstappen still has the Fastest Lap on his name since Lap 28. So, it seems Mercedes’ strategy is to ensure Hamilton has more traction at the end of the race when Verstappen is expected to struggle.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton earned the Fastest Lap after his pitstop in Lap 31. We’re now on Lap 34, and the leaders have passed through the back of the field with Nikita Mazepin once again being accused of causing traffic, which seems to have helped Hamilton, who is now within DRS range of race leader Verstappen. Lando Norris has had a tough time so far, but he’s now in ninth place after passing Alonso on Lap 39 while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo is on track for a good fifth-place finish. 

While Max Verstappen complains about the lack of grip, it’s in Lap 42 to see Hamilton making another pitstop. Mercedes made a bold strategic move by doing so. They decide to bring Hamilton in just as he was approaching Verstappen. He’s now on a set of extra mediums.

It’s Lap 43; right after Hamilton’s pitstop, we can hear Verstappen’s race-engineer Gianpiero Lambiase on the team radio: “At this rate, they’re going to catch us in the last lap” Meanwhile, it appears that Max stays out and will try a different strategy. As Hamilton asks to be informed of the gap to Verstappen on Lap 44, Bono reminds him, “Currently 22 seconds; you’ve done it before.”

It’s Lap 46, and we hear the following on the team radio: “I don’t see how we’re going to take this to the end”, Verstappen says. It’s for the first time this season; Verstappen sounds so disappointed. According to the informative AWS graphics, Hamilton’s newer set of tyres is giving him concern, but within the next 10 laps, the World Champion will be within striking distance of the Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton is behind Bottas in Lap 55 and has the advantage in terms of race speed. Hamilton is attempting to overtake his teammate, but Bottas is refusing to cooperate. At Turn 10, Hamilton dives past his teammate on the inside. That was not part of a team order; the Finn refused to let Hamilton pass him by earlier. 

Lap 54 and Bottas make a pit stop, and the Finn will challenge for the fastest lap point. Two laps later, we see Bottas earning the Fastest Lap as a result.

With 10 laps to go, we can see on the AWS system that Hamilton will be within striking distance of Verstappen in nine laps. Verstappen and Hamilton are now separated by just over a half-second on Lap 59. Keep in mind that Hamilton rejoined the race 22 seconds behind Red Bull when he pitted for the second time. It seems like the pace isn’t there for the Dutchman. What we thought was coming becomes a reality; Hamilton passes Verstappen into turn one and takes the lead of the race. 

It’s Lap 56, and Pierre Gasly has moved up to the tenth position. The AlphaTauri, had a close touch with Lance Stroll while braking, but it doesn’t matter for the Frenchman as he’s now into the points. That would be a good outcome for Alpha Tauri after Tsuonoda’s early retirement.

With Hamilton out of the picture, Red Bull has pitted Verstappen a second time to move him to fresher tyres in the hope of winning the fastest lap bonus point, a move that wasn’t a part of the original strategy. 

The chequered flag is waved as Hamilton is the first to cross the finish line after leading the race for the last 12 laps. For the fifth time in a row, the reigning World Champion wins the Spanish Grand Prix, extending his lead in the drivers’ standings. 

There’s no denial that Mercedes’ strategy was spot on, and it was the decisive factor. Verstappen made his pit stop in second position just in time to get the bonus point for the Fastest Lap. 

2021 is shaping up to be the most competitive and hard-fought constructors battle since Mercedes asserted their dominance in 2014, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen looking likely to be the two main contenders for the driver’s title. Lewis versus Max is the old boy against the new blood. The apprentice is taking on the master in the age-old battle of experience vs young talent.

Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability needs no introduction. The most successful driver of all time in terms of records, with a legacy that will last for as long as the sport continues. This is Lewis’ 15th season in Formula One, and with seven world drivers’ championships to his name, he has collected the ultimate prize in exactly 50% of the seasons he has competed in the sport. Simply incredible.

But Lewis is by no means invincible. He was, of course, famously beaten by his teammate, Nico Rosberg, in 2016 and before this, Jenson Button got one over his fellow Brit in 2011 when the two paired up at McLaren. In recent years, Lewis has not been pushed to the limit by his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the same way we all expected when he joined Mercedes in 2017, following Rosberg’s shock departure. The question is, has Lewis passed his peak? He is now 36 years old, which is at the more senior end of the spectrum for a modern F1 driver, with Lewis only junior to the longstanding Kimi Raikkonen and the returning Fernando Alonso. Hamilton has been at the top of his game for over a decade now. Is this where the fatigue of succession will disadvantage the champion in ways even he cannot control?

Hot on Lewis’ tail to break his records is the Flying Dutchman. Since Max entered the sport at the tender age of 17, he made his presence shown. He is the youngest ever driver, to date, and the youngest winner of a grand prix, following his debut victory for Red Bull at the Spanish 2016. Max’s raw talent is exceptional to watch, and you often hear Martin Brundle comment, “He is going to be a future world champion”, but is this reasonable to say?

This is Max’s seventh season, and he currently has 10 wins, four pole positions and 43 podiums to his name at the age of 23. He has proven that he is one of the toughest teammates out there, leaving Alex Albon’s F1 career in tatters, as well as making Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kyvat look very ordinary. Max is known to be hot-headed at times, and with such an aggressive driving style, he is more likely to make costly mistakes resulting in collisions and ultimately leading to a DNF. Max often seems to be caught up in the on-track drama regarding car issues, whether this is reliability or tyres. His impatience leads him to make otherwise avoidable mistakes, with Turkey 2020 being a recent example of this case. Will his lack of maturity in the car be the downfall to his chances of winning a world championship?

One question that F1 fans would love to know the answer to is given equal machinery, who would come out on top, Lewis or Max? It would be remarkably close, that is for sure! Max hasn’t had a fully competitive teammate since Daniel Ricciardo; it is difficult to say how the Dutch sensation would get on with the best-of-the-best in Lewis. Based on his pure speed, in my opinion, Max is quicker than Lewis. But Hamilton’s ability to look after his car and manage the tyres is one of the fundamental reasons he has achieved so much in the sport and continues to do so. Lewis knows how to grab situations where he isn’t in control, but the pressure of this gets to Max mainly from a lack of experience in these situations. Mind games are something we haven’t particularly seen from Max yet, but when we do, boy, do I think it’s going to be explosive! Max takes no nonsense from anyone, which is probably an impact of his upbringing, but Lewis knows how to get under his closest rivals’ skin like Nico did. I can’t see tensions rising to boil point this season, but you never know what individual tactics certain drivers will deploy to in an attempt to get one up on their opponent.

Although, if we look at the history of the last (and only other) seven-time world champion, Michael Schumacher, he made back-to-back unsuccessful attempts to clinch his eighth crown by losing to the younger generation the form of a juvenile Alonso in 2005 and 2006. Will history repeat itself? I don’t think so. Lewis has the advantage that his team continue to be the best on the grid and are more consistent in the season-long battle. But if any year could be the year for Lewis to be dethroned as world champion, this might well be the year.

It has been eight years since Red Bull last won both the driver and constructor championship. In 2010, the four year back-to-back titles began for the team and their then driver, Sebastian Vettel – who now drives for Aston Martin.

Since 2014 when the Mercedes domination started, Red Bull haven’t looked anywhere near their former selves to challenge for the title. Of course, Red Bull have had some defining wins. With 2014 being Daniel Ricciardo’s “year that got away” and not to mention Max’s 70th Anniversary win at Silverstone last year. However, is this the year Red Bull can finally have a championship run?

From a constructors championship outlook, this year could be their strongest year yet. It’s no secret Red Bull have struggled with their number two driver since Daniel Ricciardo left. Kyvat, Gasly and Albon have all struggled to reach the consistency of Max Verstappen.

Alex Albon, fighting for 8th in most races last year, was never going to help you win a constructors championship so they had to replace him for the sake of constructors points. The obvious choice, as a proven race winner, was Sergio Perez, who is exactly what Red Bull need for consistent points. The Bahrain Grand Prix wasn’t the best of starts where a strategic error in qualifying landed Checo with a P11 start. However, Red Bull gives you wings and with Checo managing to get P5 – this is something Alex Albon couldn’t do. When Checo eventually gets the opportunity to qualify well, I think he can challenge Bottas on a regular basis in order to get the team points to beat Mercedes.

At the age of 23, Max Verstappen has broken records of the youngest driver to start at 17, and youngest to win at 18. It’s crazy to think this is Max’s seventh season already, so in terms of F1, he is extremely experienced against other drivers of a similar age. He has phenomenal talent, but will his hot-head be his downfall over the season?

Even with Red Bull having one of the strongest line ups they’ve had in years, one crucial issue will be the reliability of the car. We all know that the Mercedes is one of the most reliable cars on the grid with Lewis having zero DNF’s since 2018, whereas Max DNF’d in all 3 Italian Grand Prix’s last year alone. Generally speaking, starting in the second row you are more likely to be in amongst the ‘drama’ of the first lap, which Max has been a few times. Mugello was a great example of this, when he got hit by Charles and went straight into the barrier.

A strong driver line up will allow them to play team strategy battles with Mercedes and give them proper wheel to wheel action. They have a chance of beating them, whereas in previous years would have only been winning out of luck. The Bahrain Grand Prix shows Red Bull have upped their game and ready to take on the fight. I think fundamentally, the title will be won or lost on the reliability of the cars rather than the consistent wins Red Bull can get.

This weekend showed us the battle that all F1 fans have wanted for years. Max vs Lewis. Since Nico Rosberg left the sport, Lewis hasn’t been pushed to the same extent. Ferrari couldn’t push Mercedes to a fierce enough battle, with hopes given up mid-way through the seasons of 2017-2018.

If there was a year in which Red Bull could win it, it’s this year. Honda have made leaps and strides with their engine. They have to be at the top of their game and not making errors like Checo missing Q3. Crucially where Red Bull have their advantage is their pit stop speed. Another sub two second pit stop could really give them an advantage.

All I can say is, we will have to wait and see how it plays out as it looks like we are in for one hell of a season!

2021’s Formula One World Championship has started off with a bang, which saw the 7 Time World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton narrowly ward off Max Verstappen from the top of the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It may not have been as eventful as last year’s two-fer in Sakhir – but the race was exciting, the pace was nonstop, and the drama was high.

This year sees a lot of changes on the grid. Formula Two graduates Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, and Yuki Tsunoda made their debuts for Haas and Alpha Tauri respectively, while Fernando ‘Can you Hear the Drums’ Alonso made his long-awaited return, in Renault’s re-branded Alpine car. Replacing the blinding, cotton candy, pink and white Racing Point is the green and sophisticated Aston Martin, who have scored long suffering 4 Time World Champion Sebastian Vettel as their driver.

The formation lap saw Perez almost quit with a faulty car in his debut for the hopeful, and re-energised Red Bull Racing. The race started off in the expected F1 dramatic fashion. Starting from the fourth pole position of his career, Verstappen had taken control of the race early on, but lost it during pit stops. Following a second stop for both drivers – Verstappen’s coming 10 laps after Hamilton’s – we were treated to a race, and probably the first of many for this season between Hamilton and Verstappen. A nail biting 0.7 second gap between both men gave Hamilton the victory. Verstappen making it to second place, with Bottas a distant third.

Claiming fourth and fifth place was Lando Norris and Sergio Perez, respectively. The latter climbing up over the course of the race, much like he did last year for his maiden win. To see McLaren back in the game, after a miserable couple of years in the middle of the grid is beautiful. I just hope to see them competing for the world title again.

For me, the man of the race had to be Yuki Tsunoda. I watched him during qualifying on Saturday and was mighty impressed by this 20-year-old racer. And he is a racer, scoring his first points in his debut race, behind a Ferrari. The land of the rising sun has a new and exciting racer, and I predict great things to come from him. Disappointingly for Alonso, he was not able to finish this race, being let down by his car. That was a shame, as he was excellent in qualifying. As well as this, Sebastian Vettel, in his shiny new Green car, was only able to get a paltry 15th place, after a crash with Esteban Ocon resulted in a 10 second penalty.

So, what does this race tell us about the season as a whole? Hamilton may have won the day, but frankly, I think he has very good competition. Mercedes has become complacent with its cars. They are fast, they can win races, but the gap between them, and their rival teams, has closed somewhat. Red Bull is back with a vengeance, and Max Verstappen is undoubtedly going to go to war with Lewis Hamilton. I also see McLaren being a force to compete with, as those battles for 3rd and 4th place become ever more important. They have a good car, they have two very good drivers, and I think they will be formidable in their own right.
Will I be right, or am I talking out of my rear wing? Only time will tell.

It was announced this morning that Sergio Perez would replace Alex Albon at Red Bull Racing for 2021, with an initial one year contract being signed.

For many, this is the news they have been waiting for – with Alex underperforming throughout the 2020 season and failing to meet Red Bull’s expectations. In an anticipated turn of events, for the first time since 2007 when Mark Webber joined the team – they are hiring a driver from outside of their own development programme. Does this mean that experience will be the answer to Red Bulls problems?

Perez has demonstrated throughout his career that he is an extremely reliable and consistent midfield driver, and possibly one of the most underrated. Throughout the 2020 Season in particular, his incredibly impressive portfolio of results prove why he deserves the seat for next year. Even without his maiden win at the Sakhir Grand Prix, the Mexican driver has racked up 125 points and finished fourth in the Drivers Championship, despite missing two races due to testing positive for Covid-19.

It’s no secret that Red Bull desire a second driver to push Max Verstappen to his limits and to strengthen their chances against the dominant Mercedes. Personally, we think if any driver is going to succeed in meeting these goals, it’s Checo. His superb race craft and ability to make the most out of opportunities – such as his miraculous recovery drive which took him from last and facing the wrong way, to a hugely admired victory under the lights at Bahrain are just some of the motives for the signing. Sergio’s ten seasons in Formula One should provide the experience he needs to manage Red Bulls pressure cooker environment, whilst still achieving much needed results.

Qualifying for Sergio isn’t always smooth sailing, however on a Sunday he pulls it all together and his ability to extract the maximum he needs from the car and his tyres is remarkable. Is this exactly what Red Bull have been missing?

Only time will tell if Sergio Perez is what Red Bull need to fight their way to the top, however we are confident that the team have made the right decision. We wish Checo all the luck in the world, and look forward to seeing what he brings in 2021.

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