The Mercedes and Red Bull team principals commented on the Portugal Grand Prix won by Lewis Hamilton
By Yuri Coghe
Mercedes and Red Bull are following through on the promise shown in the pre-season testing to take the championship battle to the wire.
After three races, the scoring shows a 2-1 lead in favour of the German team in terms of both race wins and pole positions, reflecting on an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship and an 18-point gap in the constructors’.
The early advantage didn’t come easy for Mercedes, and team principal Toto Wolff is certainly not taking things for granted.
“When we were behind in testing and in Bahrain, it’s a buzz that I have not felt in the team since 2013 when we had that first sniff that we could be there,” said Wolff after the Portuguese Grand Prix, won by Lewis Hamilton on Sunday.
Further listening: PODCAST l The Chicane Crew Podcast reviews the Portuguese Grand Prix
Mercedes won three races in 2013, a season that saw Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull celebrate their fourth straight championships. The Brackley-based team then went on to dominate Formula 1, collecting every championship since 2014.
“The whole place is excited and continues to be excited. I’d like to be happy after Abu Dhabi at the end of the season but for the time being, we’ll take it one step at a time,” said Wolff.
If Red Bull is taking up the fight to Mercedes and might even have the best 2021 car but it’s still not leading the championship after three races, what would it take for them to get back to the top? In Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner’s opinion, they have to be flawless.
“I think we need to be perfect, but there are strengths and weaknesses to the cars,” Horner said after the race. “But I always said it would take four races. I think we’ve got a pretty abnormal surface and extreme wind and cool conditions here (in Portugal). If we get a pretty standard Barcelona, I think you’ll get the four races and we can see where our strengths and weaknesses are.
Just like Wolff said, Horner is sure the battle for the championship has everything to go all the way to the very end. “What we can see is it’s incredibly tight. The biggest winner for that is Formula 1, and if it goes like this for 23 races, it’s going to be nip and tuck,” he said.
The Spanish Grand Prix, the fourth round of the 2021 Formula 1 season, takes place next weekend in Barcelona.