July 23, 2024

The Qatar Grand Prix offered yet more convincing proof that Max Verstappen and Red Bull are no longer in danger from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes this year.

When identifying McLaren as the main threat to his Formula 1 hegemony, Max Verstappen ignored Mercedes.

No one has, in fact, been able to match the Dutchman this year.
Because of this, he was able to win his third straight drivers’ championship after the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint on Saturday, with six regular races and two more Sprints left in 2023.

Ferrari is right behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. And Lewis Hamilton, who is chasing down the struggling Sergio Perez for second place in the drivers’ standings, is third behind the two Red Bull racers.

The Qatar race, however, offered yet more proof that Verstappen is no longer in danger from Hamilton and his Mercedes team.
Fernando Alonso at the Aston Martin, neither of the Ferrari drivers, nor teammate George Russell are either.

Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris completed another McLaren double podium by placing second and third, respectively, behind Verstappen.
The following day, Piastri won the Sprint race from pole position, holding off Verstappen to earn the most points ever in an F1 practice.

The Dutchman claimed in a post-race interview that he can no longer ignore the fact that McLaren has overtaken Red Bull as Red Bull’s primary rival as a result of their significant season-long improvements.
He stated, “I do believe that as a team, they are probably the most reliable compared to the others behind us.

“And I do believe that out of all of them, they have the strongest lineup of drivers. They are doing a great job, so it will be interesting to see where they are all at the end of the year and, I believe, at the beginning of the following one.

McLaren is still ranked fifth in the constructors’ standings, but another strong performance means they are catching up to those at the top.
Norris isn’t ruling out his team’s chances of passing Ferrari before the season is out, even though the gap to the Italian team has shrunk to just 79 points.
In addition to having Aston Martin in their sights.

“It’s feasible. I believe so,” he said in reference to the possibility.
“Aston was 70 something at a few races ago. Fernando claimed that we are also overconfident, but I believe that we are simply performing well. Not just in terms of speed, but today we had a 1:08.
The guys have been working really hard, so rewarding the whole team consistently is only more motivating and a bigger boost every weekend.

“They enjoy the taste of success.
It’s the first time they’re getting it consistently, and I believe that only makes them want it more and more and more every weekend, which is why the guys are doing a great job.
I believe that we are both working hard. So we’ll continue.
“.

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