Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Race Winner Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes celebrate in Parc Ferme

Can Verstappen finally beat Hamilton to the title this season?

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Race Winner Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes celebrate in Parc Ferme

Since the introduction, in 2014, of the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid engines in Formula 1, Mercedes have dominated the sport with star driver Lewis Hamilton picking up six world drivers’ championships in the past seven seasons – Nico Rosberg won the other, also in a Mercedes.

The famed Germanic manufacturer has a long history in the world of motoring, having been of the largest and most successful high-end retailers of the past several decades, but their unprecedented success in the pinnacle of motor sport, F1, has been formed from a partnership that pairs the best car with the best driver.

Hamilton’s dominance within the sport is without question, one of the best spells in the sport from any driver in any period, and a quick look at tells us that all the leading bookies still fancy him to triumph this season, so would you bet against him?

Will the Silver arrow continue to dominate?

No other manufacturer has come close to mounting a season-long challenge to the silver arrows, and few drivers have been able to keep pace with the record-breaking Hamilton. However, many pundits, commentators and F1 fans have a feeling that the 2021 season could be different.

Red Bull finished the 2020 campaign strongly, and with further improvements during winter testing, it’s clear to see that they finally have a car that is on par (if not slightly quicker) than Mercedes. Added to this, Red Bull possesses one of the fastest drivers on the grid in Max Verstappen, who is hungry to become a legend of the sport himself. So, now that the Red Bull appears to have the upper hand, can Verstappen finally beat Hamilton to the title this season?

Whatever happens, it looks set to be an intriguing battle between the best two drivers in the sport. There are a few things that are clearly to Max’s advantage. Firstly, Red Bull ditched Alex Albon at the end of the 2020 season, and Sergio Perez now has a seat in their other car. If Perez can get the best out of the Red Bull, he should be mixing it at the top of the field, which would benefit Red Bull in terms of in-race strategy and, of course, if Perez is able to finish in front of Hamilton on occasions, then it will take points from him, too.

Will Red Bull’s partnership with Honda be enough?

Also – at least for now – the Red Bull is the quicker car. Design improvements have made it more stable and reliable. Courtesy of Honda, the cars have a new power unit for this season, which is a major upgrade, and a catalyst for the improved speed. This was evident in practice and qualifying for the season-opener – the Bahrain Grand Prix, in which Verstappen stormed to pole position by nearly four-tenths of a second.

However, in the race, Mercedes and Hamilton, showed that they are not going to roll over without a fight. It was a gripping grand prix with Lewis just pinching the win after race control ordered Max to give back a place after exceeding track limits when overtaking.

Despite this result, Red Bull are brimming with confidence in their package, and bounced back to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend.

A variable that is out of their control though is what improvements will Mercedes make to their car as the season unfolds? Already, there have been tweaks since testing and the first race, which produced positive outcomes. Then, there’s number 44 – Lewis Hamilton. He is currently tied with the legendary Michael Schumacher on seven World Drivers’ Championships, and he’s as motivated as ever before at this new challenge.