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F1 season review: Red Bull secures their place in F1 Hall of Fame

Red Bull broke many records this season with their star driver Max Verstappen.

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The Red Bull RB19 became one of the most accomplished cars in F1 history, winning by over a 400-point margin.

Red Bull celebrating the conclusion of a stellar season in Abu Dhabi. Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull celebrating the conclusion of a stellar season in Abu Dhabi. Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull went for double in 2023, securing their sixth constructors’ title dominantly. Wrapping the world and constructors championships up back in September, the RB19 has been hailed as one of the most successful cars ever seen in F1, winning 21 out of 22 races.

The Milton Keynes team scored 860 points, breaking the record Mercedes previously set back in 2016 with 765 points. There is no doubt that the RB19 will be spoken about for many years to come as it’ll be difficult to achieve what this car has done again in the future.

The start of something great

Having not won at a season-opener since Australia in 2011, Red Bull had their fingers crossed that the car they made would be able to perform on race day.

The Austrian outfit’s driver line-up was strong, with a hungry Verstappen looking to attempt the triple and Perez looking to get out of Verstappen’s shadow and contend for the championship.

The Dutchman topped the timing sheets in qualifying with his teammate a couple of hundredths off his time. The car looked strong, and this judgement was further proven on Sunday.

Verstappen quickly dominated during the race, with the driver being untouchable for the 57 laps. Perez took a difficult start by being overtaken by Charles Leclerc, it wasn’t until Lap 27, that the Mexican would fight back and gain second once again after Leclerc retired.

As the race started to mature, the gap in front was growing, and the 30-second gap between first and third place was starting to increase every lap.

As Verstappen crossed the line, a 38-second gap was created, with Perez 11 seconds behind his teammate.

The formidable RB19

Red Bull captured the eyes of viewers as they crossed the line to achieve the best start any team has had in an F1 season for 25 years. It also marked a new best for Red Bull, who previously hadn’t won in Bahrain for over a decade. Bahrain kicked started the streak of a 14-undefeated run by Red Bull.

George Russell after the opening round, already predicated that Red Bull had won the championship with a convincing victory:

“Red Bull have got this championship sewn up, I don’t think anyone will be fighting with them this year. They should win every single race this year, (that) is my bet.”

Whilst seemingly a ludicrous opinion at the time, Russell wasn’t far off the mark by the end of the season.

The domination continued, both teammates, had won two races each heading into Miami. Viewers were gearing up for what could be an exciting championship battle between the pair. However, Verstappen quickly squashed that idea and went on to secure 10 wins in a row – beating Vettel’s previous record of nine in a row.

That wasn’t the only record they achieved in 2023, Verstappen went on to lead 1,003 laps out of a possible 1,325 laps this season. This beat another Vettel record who previously led 739 out of a possible 1,133 in 2011.

Red Bull went on to break a special record which was previously held by McLaren in 1988 where the team 15 out of 16 races with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Their winning percentage was 93.75% which had never been broken before the RB19. After winning 21 out of 22 races the team racked up a 95.45%, which once again shows how much the car crushed competition.

The almost perfect season

Heading into the Singapore weekend for round 15, there was wide speculation that Red Bull could do the unthinkable and win every race of the season. Already on the back of 14 wins, this was looking to become more of a reality rather than speculation.

However, as the Bulls headed into FP1 it started to look like the car was struggling around the circuit. Though, it was suggested they would be able to pull it back in Qualifying and be on top once again – this didn’t happen.

In a shocking Q2, Verstappen was seemingly struggling in his RB19. Crossing the line for his final run, he just made the cut for the next knock-out phase.

However, the AlphaTauri of Liam Lawson, who was acing all the sectors, came to the chequered flag and by just a couple hundredths of a second, knocked out the reigning world champion. Perez was also knocked out and would be starting just behind Verstappen.

Starting in the middle of the pack, Verstappen and Perez had a mammoth task to push their way up to the front. Overtaking in Marina Bay is notably known for its difficulty making the task that much harder.

Whilst making up some incredible positions throughout the race, the RB19 set-up struggled during the race compared to its rivals. The Red Bull perfect streak was ended when Carlos Sainz took the victory, with Verstappen and Perez 6th and 8th respectively.

Verstappen then went on to win every race after Singapore.

Trouble in Paradise

As Verstappen ran away with the championship competitors were still scrambling around to try to catch the Milton Keynes team.

Perez, however, who had the incredible RB19 under his feet started to struggle to match his teammate. Whilst being at the top with Verstappen at the start of the season, the Mexican started to decline.

Qualifying was starting to become the obvious factor that was impacting Perez. The head-to-head stats of 20-2 showed Verstappen trounced Perez in Qualifying. The Mexican struggled after the summer break and when the penultimate race in Las Vegas approached, Perez had his third Q2 exit in seven races.

A five-second penalty hindered his last race, where Perez would’ve finished on the podium with Verstappen – however, finished in fourth. Although having one of the most dominating cars in F1 history, Perez finished 290 points behind his teammate.

The pressure of not matching his teammate seemed to knock his confidence and looking to earn momentum to his name once again, Perez looked for victory in Mexico. However, the driver crashed out of the first turn after a tight battle for first.

Perez seemed to crumble under his formidable teammate this season. But with the pressure of his contract running out next season and rumours of Ricciardo being next in line, Perez will be looking to prove he deserves his seat.

Looking back on the season
Verstappen with his championship trophy. Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool
Verstappen with his championship trophy. Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool

This season secured the RB19’s entrance into the F1 hall of fame, a season not likely to be replicated by anyone for the foreseeable future. Verstappen was in a class of his own the whole season, with drivers in awe of his performance. Oscar Piastri stated after the Belgian Grand Prix that when Verstappen is the car behind you, it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ you get overtaken:

“I was just focusing on trying to do the best job I could knowing that it was probably going to be ‘when’ Max came pass rather than ‘if’. But I tried my best and I think second was all we had.”

This goes to show just how incredible both the RB19 and Verstappen really were this season. Though it won’t be something favourably to look back on for Perez, the Mexican showed his talent in performances at the start of the season. When the driver had the confidence, there was no doubt Perez was someone to fear on track.

Rating: 9.5/10

Featured Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

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