Is it All to Play for in the Constructors’ Championship Below Red Bull?

The championships of this year’s Formula One season were as good as secured by Red Bull by the end of the Miami Grand Prix. After the excessive pageantry prior to the race in the US, Max Verstappen has strung together eight wins on the bounce, making up for his more lacklustre second-place showings in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

With another win at the Hungaroring, Red Bull secured the record-setting 11th consecutive finish atop the podium, nudging the 35-year record of McLaren to one side. By the look of it, that record will only become more unassailable as the season progresses.

Still, behind the Red Bulls, there’s a heated battle between the racers of Mercedes, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and even McLaren for a shot at the ‘next-best’ crown. There are ten races to go when racing returns for Verstappen’s homecoming in the Netherlands – so plenty of points to tussle over.

Four legitimate contenders emerge

When the season began, Aston Martin were the surprise package, even giving some hope that a team could start to challenge Red Bull later in the campaign. A collection of podium finishes for Fernando Alonso gave them hope, but after an upgrade package didn’t stick quite as planned, the team was fading as the Belgium Grand Prix ended.

Elsewhere, McLaren has come seemingly out of nowhere to claim a couple of valuable podium finishes at Silverstone and silver at the GP in Hungary. It’s a great sign from an improving team, but of the contenders for second place, it may be a bit too late for McLaren.

Ferrari, on the other hand, look to have found a characteristically sporadic flash of form. Fourth in Canada, second in Austria, and then finished third in Belgium three races later saw Charles Leclerc bump George Russell from fifth in the World Drivers’ Championship. Still, Hamilton ended the last three races third, fourth, and fourth for Mercedes.

There are enough drama and question marks surrounding all four of the teams here to raise intrigue and see them all as viable competitors. Of course, the F1 betting sees things a bit differently. At the time of writing, Mercedes were the clear favourites to land second in the World Constructors’ Championship, followed by Ferrari and McLaren.

Can any team unseat Mercedes?

Starting with the upstarts furthest down the standings, McLaren come into the Dutch GP fifth and 144 points behind Mercedes. For the purposes of this, let’s assume that the first and second in each race are more or less secured in most races from here on out.

So, McLaren would need to net the 15 and 12 points from coming third and fourth in every remaining race for 270 points. This would make up the 144-point gap and put them 126 points clear. Then, they’d have to hope that the two Mercedes drivers average fewer than 6.4 points each in the remaining ten races – or always come sixth or lower.

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With a mere 51 points between Mercedes and Aston Martin, with Ferrari down by a further five points, they’re the only ones with real hope of nestling in behind Red Bull. If Aston Martin can make good use of their new Silverstone facility over the break, they’d seem the most likely to mount and offensive, but it’s a fairly big “if.”

Mercedes is the heavy favourite to come second, and with good reason, but if improvements are made elsewhere for the final ten races, they could start to feel the heat.