Words: Morne Esben
Photos: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Could this be the resurgence for Red Bull that puts them in the hunt for the title?
I enjoyed the Canadian Grand Prix. Sure, the racing was probably a bit average and the tyres made the race a bit of a farce, but the result has me thinking this could really be the start of a rather interesting and spicy latter three-quarters of the season!
The resurgence of Red Bull has now made this a three-horse title race in my view. The win in Monaco for Daniel Ricciardo and the podium for Max Verstappen in Canada shows that Red Bull are not only capable at tracks where power doesn’t count, but that they can mix it up on the faster circuits as well. Clearly the power unit in the back of that car along with the typically economic design of the RB14 makes them a real contender.
Sidebar: Just getting news that Red Bull has signed a power-unit deal with Honda for next season, but these rumours are yet to be confirmed by the team itself.
Already 2017 has been a bit of a lottery in terms of results. There’s no one team dominating and I think that’s good for the sport. The championship lead keeps switching hands between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but with Red Bull’s resurgence, the protagonists now have two other drivers to worry about instead of just each other. In fact, I’m tempted to throw Valtteri Bottas into that equation as well, because he looks a different driver this year. In Canada especially he showed what he could do on race day with a car that clearly had a deficit.
I’ll be silly not to note though that Mercedes were still using the original power unit which has now done some 7 races, so it’s logical that it would’ve lost some of its grunt. Other teams all came with updated engines, so in terms of damage-limitation, they’re not doing too badly. I expect them to take a leap further forward if they do have their engine update ready for Paul Ricard.
But I still can’t help but get excited for what’s to come, especially from Red Bull … and more specifically Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is still smarting from the Monaco fallout and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it. He seemed to show good maturity in Canada and was very workman-like, so maybe now we can see all that potential finally fulfilled. Or maybe I’m just asking too much! But Red Bull have to look at this pragmatically – drive the wheels off that car on Saturday and Sunday without the drivers crashing into each other and I tell you, they could nip some points off the frontrunners which will make Ferrari and Mercedes very nervous…. And which will give us just the sort of season we’ve been asking for.