Home Sport Will Red Bull allow a Checo push in Baku?

Will Red Bull allow a Checo push in Baku?

73

Verstappen is arguably the best driver in the paddock – his form and talents fusing together to make him a consistent force on the grid. Quite frankly, he is the driver to beat, but my big question is, will Red Bull allow it?

Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing exits the pit lane during the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco at the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 29 May 2022. Picture: Christian Bruna, EPA, Pool

Johannesburg – There can be no arguing that right now Red Bull are hot, hot, hot and are in the pound seats for this year’s F1 titles.

They lead both championships – defending world champion Max Verstappen is on top of the world drivers’ title; while the team holds a 26-point advantage in the less prestigious, but more important constructors.

Right now they have the most powerful car, with excellent reliability, which is the fastest car on the straights, and no squealing pig in the corners either.

ALSO READ: Five stories from the pits at the Baku circuit

Verstappen is arguably the best driver in the paddock – his form and talents fusing together to make him a consistent force on the grid. Quite frankly, he is the driver to beat, but my big question is, will Red Bull allow it?

Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, is only 15 points behind the Dutchman in the drivers’ championship, and goes into this weekend’s Azerbaijan GP off the back of winning the crown jewel of F1, the Monaco GP.

He understands his own machine, and seems to be nearly as comfortable as Verstappen behind the wheel of the RB18.

There has been much talk this week that Checo is in with a chance to push for a championship himself, but to be honest, unless there is a world-altering event akin to a zombie apocalypse, or the confirmation of life other than our own, I just can’t see it happening.

Red Bull is Max Verstappen verskrik and its team principal Christian Horner would be considered a cosplay-level fanboy, if he wasn’t in charge of the Milton Keynes-based team.

Like, we get it Mr Halliwell (nee Horner): You love the 24-year-old and regard him as one of the great drivers of his generation – you have said so multiple times on multiple occasions. I can’t say that his assessment is incorrect – Verstappen is one hell of a driver that can rule the sport for many years to come.

The concern here is that Red Bull seem to back only one horse, and that stallion is Verstappen. Which is totally understandable but does put his teammates at a disadvantage.

It was definitely one of the reasons the then more senior Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull in 2018; and arguably also one of the reasons why Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon couldn’t cut it at the team, their personal form during their respective tenures at Red Bull notwithstanding.

You could even argue that their departures from Red Bull played a massive part in stifling the trio’s trajectory.

Ricciardo has seemingly lost the plot after leaving Red Bull, despite an above par showing at Renault, while Gasly took several months to recover from his departure. Albon, meanwhile, missed an entire season after he was dumped.

I’m not saying this was Verstappen’s fault, only that it shows a track record that is unkind to his teammates.

To my mind, Perez’s triumph in Monaco was an aberration due to the nature of the track. If Checo is ahead in Azerbaijan – a street track – that logic might well prevail again. But Verstappen is the No 1 driver at Red Bull and when push comes to shove, Perez will pay the price again, as he did at the Spanish GP.

@FreemanZAR

Previous articlePublic Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s suspension not meant to impede any current investigations
Next articleBok coach will keep close eye on URC semis