F1 mid-season review: Red Bull’s Verstappen close to third Formula 1 title; Mercedes, Aston Martin, McLaren in battle for 2nd

Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s domination continued as the team won every single race this season, while others have been left to scrap for the other podium places.

Published : Aug 07, 2023 19:59 IST , CHENNAI - 4 MINS READ

| Video Credit: Ritika Srivathsan and Anish Pathiyil

A dominating Red Bull, an early silly season and plenty of fresh faces on track - these are some of the things we have seen in the Formula 1 season so far. 

Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s domination continued as the team won every single race this season. Verstappen’s car has been able to adapt to each track and be able to maximise points on race days. The Red Bull engine has been quite strong throughout the season for the Dutch driver. 

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However, his teammate Sergio Perez has been having problems during qualifying. In the last few races, he was unable to qualify past Q1 but has been making up for it during the races, as he moved up the grid to finish in points.

Thanks to Red Bull’s stranglehold at the tip, the fight is for the second position in the championship.

The Mercedes engine teams – Aston Martin and Mercedes – have been having an intense battle throughout the season. 

Aston Martin showed promising results in testing and at the start of the season as it was a regular feature on the podium. For Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton  has been able to produce better results on track than his teammate, George Russell. The team has been consistently scoring points and has claimed a few podiums. 

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Another team to watch out for is McLaren. After a rough start to the season, its first set of upgrades has been seen as successful. The team has developed its sidepods and floor, which are helping with the aerodynamics of the car. 

This allowed the team to clinch podium finishes in Silverstone and Hungary. The team is now P5 in the constructor’s championship, after a tough Belgian Grand Prix, which led to the retirement of its rookied driver Oscar Piastri. The results have been impressive so far and it looks like the team will move up the order in the championship table once the season resumes. 

However, there are a few teams who have not been able to adapt to changes so quickly. Ferrari has been having technical problems. It has been able to perform well in qualifying by securing pole positions. But it has failed to convert this pace to podiums on Sundays. Post the summer break, Ferrari fans will be hoping for a turnaround in luck.

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The season has been action-packed, with an early silly season not only for the drivers but for team management as well. We have seen the return of Daniel Ricciardo replacing Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri. The Aussie driver has taken part in only two races, and it is still too early to say how he will fare in the season. 

The real churning though has happened at Alpine, which has not been performed as well as expected this season, even though Pierre Gasly did finish on the podium in the sprint race in Belgium. It has been interesting to see the change in the team’s management with the Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer parting ways after the Belgian Grand Prix and senior technical staff also leaving the team. The French team is in “no hurry” to immediately replace Szafnauer. Former Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is among the rumoured replacements for this role.

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Williams has also been doing well this season, with the British side particularly fast in qualifying. Alex Albon has been making it to Q3 and has scored points as well for the team. His teammate, rookie Logan Sargeant has shown promising signs, but is yet to deliver. 

This has been an eventful first-half and it will be quite interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out.

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