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F1 2021 :: Mercedes-Red Bull: War Without Quarter

In just four races in 2021 the scenario is clear in Formula 1, it is a Hamilton-Verstappen duel, whose cars and forces are so even that they have pushed each other twice at the start and have re-advanced for the victory in the stages finals at four. So elegant, for now, is being the duel on the court as cloudy outside. Each team is going to pull everything it has at hand, inside and outside the offices, condemned also to stretch the evolution of the cars in the worst possible year with the wild change of regulation in 2022. "Certainly we are not going to to win the world championship if we say that we are going to concentrate completely on the next season ", warns Helmut Marko, who is already advancing that at least until the summer they will be in full force.

For now, the champions are winning, with 3-1 in victories, in pole positions and fastest laps , and a 14-point lead, the tightest among rivals from different teams since 2018, although the Dutchman has led more laps, in fact almost the double, 144 by 75, 57% of the disputed spins . The feeling of closeness is such that F1 witnessed something unprecedented in Spain, that a team leader, and also owner of 33% such as Toto Wolff, seized on nerves, picked up the radio and shook the race director live against a doubled when Hamilton was gambling for victory after the second stop.

But it is just the tip of the iceberg, things were already hot in Montmeló after the signing of 15 Mercedes engine specialists, recruited for the cause at Red Bull, which next year no longer has any Honda brain to make it work the engines, which do stay in Milton-Keynes. "They have hit a hundred," complained Toto, who returns the affront with a bullet: "It will be a long time for some, and they will not be able to go there to work until the end of 2023, which is a long time. In addition, most were not people of performance, they were production people, "he says to minimize the impact it can have on the Brixworth thruster plant.

At Red Bull, Marko insists it will take time for Mercedes to replace the 'defectors'. "We did not offer them twice as much to come, but they do do it to retain them, in any case it will take time to replace them, because they were managers. We need people to run these Honda engines until 2023 and create our own Red Bull engine from 2025."

All against Max and his new 'flexible' spoiler

This in the offices. In sports and regulations, the fight is complete, from Bottas assuring that Mercedes do not change drivers in the middle of the season, "because that only happens at Red Bull", to two more asphalt areas, such as limit sanctions track. Red Bull has already lost a victory (Bahrain) and a fastest lap (8 points) due to Verstappen's excess of fierceness , always on the limit, with laps constantly canceled for taking the car too far, but he is taking all the fines , and the FIA   is accused of being hard or soft depending on which circuit and which driver.

"We have been the hardest hit by the limits of the tracks this season. It seems that in the case of Red Bull, the rules are being applied in the strictest way. Still, Max must respect them no matter how little sense they make. It bothers me is the lack of consistency in the punishment. Sometimes there are five seconds, sometimes ten seconds, sometimes a drive-through penalty ... ", analyzes Marko.

The last thing, for now, is Hamilton, who believes that the new Red Bull rear wing is curved, it is flexible. "They have accelerated a lot with the change of wing. It has given them a good speed on the straight, which has put them much more in conflict with us," he raised this weekend.

The FIA   will act before the French appointment with new flexion tests of the wing , which does not move when stationary, but when underway with aerodynamic gain, although Christian Horner is already anticipating. "I doubt it was Lewis's opinion, he must have been inspired by someone else," he says of Toto Wolff. "The cars, of course, are subject to various inspections and the flexibility of the wings is also checked. The FIA   is completely satisfied with our car and has passed all rigorous tests," he says, although this is for now.

Ecclestone bets on Hamilton

For Ecclestone , now completely out of the Circus but deep inside aware of everything that happens, the thing is clear: "This sport now has two pilots who look at each other like Senna and Prost, but, unfortunately, I have to take away their hopes to the fans of the Netherlands, because Hamilton is driving better than ever, "says Ecclestone.

Thanks also to Verstappen, Lewis is now flawless, calm and intelligent. He doesn't get into trouble and always gives his opponent the space and respect he needs to survive. Max may be on par with his driving skills, but Lewis can always be confident that he has the best, most reliable team. Without strange incidents, Lewis will easily become world champion for the eighth time."

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