When Red Bull Racing left the Australian Grand Prix, they may not have believed that by the Summer break they’d be 97 points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, and that Max Verstappen would be boasting an 80-point lead in the Drivers’ Standings, yet here we are.
Back at the Albert Park Circuit, Verstappen suffered his second reliability-based DNF of the season, two from the first three rounds.
At the time, he ruled himself out of the championship fight unless Red Bull could solve their reliability problems, especially as Ferrari looked unbeatable at the time.
Fast forward to the summer break and the story has dramatically changed, with Verstappen having won eight races out of the thirteen to have been completed this season, and with Ferrari being the ones experiencing a reliability crisis.
The Austrian side have largely gotten on top of all their issues; however, some reliability problems have still cracked the surface.
It doesn’t take away from the fact that Red Bull have taken the fight to Ferrari, and arguably put both titles out of reach of the Italian team.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told GPFans that their current position is beyond their “wildest dreams”, but how there can be “no complacency”.
“[It has been] a phenomenal first half of the year,” said Horner.
“Eight victories plus two sprint race victories. It’s more than our wildest dreams could have been coming into the season, especially with a very competitive and rejuvenated Ferrari.
“Obviously, sitting on top of the constructors’ and the drivers’ at this point of the year is very healthy, but there’s still a long, long way to go. There’s no complacency. We’re looking to build on that momentum from the first half of the year.”
The gaps in both championships are really much bigger than they should be, as Ferrari have lost the race lead on a number of occasions.
Charles Leclerc alone has retired twice whilst leading due to power unit failures, lost the lead three times due to strategic errors, and crashed out once whilst in the race lead.
In total, Leclerc could be sitting on possibly nine victories so far this year, instead of just three.
The Monegasque driver has usually been the victim of Ferrari’s strategic blunders, most recently at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Whilst leading, Ferrari pitted Leclerc and fitted the Hard compound to his F1-75.
This was a shock to all, with Pirelli having advised all the teams against using the hardest rubber, with the track surface of the Hungaroring being too cold to generate any heat into the tyre.
However, Ferrari believed it would work, something they quickly began to realise they’d gotten horribly wrong as Leclerc slid across the entire circuit at virtually every corner.
The Ferrari driver couldn’t generate any heat into the rubber, so was forced into an additional pit-stop for Soft tyres.
The whole fiasco gave Verstappen an unexpected victory, after starting P10, whilst Leclerc went from first to sixth.
Horner was asked if Ferrari’s errors had helped Red Bull build an almost uncatchable lead, something he failed to agree with.
“Obviously, Ferrari have had some misfortune,” Horner added.
“We’ve had some misfortune earlier in the year as well. It tends to even itself out over the course of the year.
“I’m just pleased that we’ve managed to grab the opportunities when we’ve had them so far. We’ve had bad luck. Silverstone was a race we should have won easily. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”