(Motorsport-Total.com) – Dear readers,
Many things are different in Formula 1 2020. But one thing does not change: At this point I will write freely (and, as always, completely subjectively) from the liver who I think slept the worst last night (figuratively, of course) ). While on our sister portal motorsport.com the column of a colleague illuminates who slept best last night.
Incidentally, that is Ruben Zimmermann today. He argues that after the Austrian Grand Prix, Andreas Seidl has the most reason to be satisfied.
The biggest cat whine is at Red Bull this morning. Although CEO Dietrich Mateschitz can look forward to a perfectly successful Formula 1 premiere under his care, which brings his (and my) home country Austria positive headlines for professional organization worldwide. But from a purely sporting point of view, the first of two races in Spielberg was a fiasco for Helmut Marko’s bulls.
Red Bull: Victory was possible
I propose a daring theory: both Red Bull drivers could have won the Grand Prix.
Alexander Albon was on the better, fresher tires when the safety car released the final showdown. When he sat next to Lewis Hamilton in the Schlossgold curve (even without DRS!), Victory was within reach. Because if you can overtake Hamilton, the fastest man in the race up to then, you can overtake Valtteri Bottas and win.
And if Albon could have won himself, it would have been Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman – thus striking the questionable “title” for the first Monday column of the year – wants to be the youngest Formula 1 world champion of all time in 2020.
But he won’t.
Since last weekend it has been clear: the Mercedes silver arrows are also superior as black arrows. Anyone who is more than half a second ahead of the rest of the world in qualifying, even on the shortest route of the entire season, is more dominant than ever.
Mercedes has never been so big
This is borne out by the numbers: Since the start of the hybrid era in 2014, Mercedes has never had as much advantage in qualifying in Spielberg as on Saturday. The only exception: 2016. But the distances were not representative because of the wet track in Q3.
Nevertheless, the race was won for Red Bull. Mercedes was not fighting in the high air with the cooling, but with the gearbox – at least that’s what the pit radio showed. Both Bottas and Hamilton were vulnerable.
And with regard to the World Cup, the start could even have been a real jackpot for Verstappen: win by himself, main opponent Hamilton probably only on P5 – that would have been 15 points ahead for the rest of the season.
Instead, the Dutchman has to catch up twelve points behind.
I’m not a fan of making decisions too early. Except for 2015, when I wrote that Nico Rosberg “never again” becomes world champion. What has become of the forecast is well known. So now I am very careful to lean too far out of the window.
But there is a great deal to suggest that Sebastian Vettel will continue to retire early as the youngest world champion in Formula 1 history at the end of the year.
The Red Bull Ring, like Melbourne, is not a representative route. Sure, Verstappen won there in 2018 and 2019. Because Mercedes didn’t have the cooling under control in the Styrian mountain air.
But it is also clear that if the Hamilton and Bottas cars run technically flawlessly, the track design in Spielberg is actually tailor-made for them.
Nevertheless, Verstappen has to use every little chance with a permanent Mercedes dominance to have a realistic chance of winning the title.
Token: Mercedes advantage?
Red Bull can certainly develop the RB16 further – in an exceptional situation in which the further development is again regulated via token and the big leaps are not expected for 2021, there is every reason to believe that Mercedes dominance will last at least two more seasons .
Photo gallery: Corona crisis: Formula 1 opening 2020 is so bizarre
And in a season when it is not yet clear how many races the bottom line will be, every zero hurts twice.
The only positive thing from Verstappen’s point of view is that Bottas booked the 25 points for the win and not Hamilton. Because the Finn didn’t quite have the speed to challenge Hamilton, you could see on Sunday as long as the race took a reasonably normal course and the distance between the two melted away like a popsicle in the alpine sun.
But let us be surprised. If Verstappen wins “against all odds” next weekend, Red Bull will head to the Hungaroring with a tailwind – a route that should actually accommodate the RB16 more than the Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Performance.
And my readers now know one thing: If I predict that 2020 will be nothing again with the title, Verstappen can probably cool down the champagne …
P.S .: Who else slept badly, I will not “reveal” at this point. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and have a look there in the evening to find out!
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