Red Bull duo Should be Title Challengers in 2017

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

Red Bull outscored Ferrari in Japan yet again despite Vettel and Raikkonen finishing ahead of Ricciardo in 6th. A 4-point gain adds to a slow but steady increase for the Bulls in the Constructors. They now lead Ferrari by a more than reasonable 50 points and are sitting tidy in 2nd.

Even if they finished 3rd this season, their target will always be to win the title in 2017. The regulations will see a highly anticipated regression back to a Formula revolving around aero instead of just the power-unit.

With regards to this season’s success, team boss Christian Horner said,

“It is a combination of many factors. We came into the season not thinking that we would be in the top five in the constructors’ championship, so I would say that one factor for sure is that the engine has made a reasonable step forward from last year – that is probably the biggest factor.

On the chassis side, our senior technical team have done an amazing job. And yes, the drivers have played their part as well. They have extracted the most from what they were given. I think strategically we are strong and we capitalised where possible on opportunities. And the car has been reliable, which is also a key factor.”

– Christian Horner

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - OCTOBER 02:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing on the podium during the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on October 2, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – OCTOBER 02: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing on the podium during the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on October 2, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Mercedes were under more pressure after having to turn their engines down for the Japanese GP following Hamilton’s engine failure the weekend before. Whilst this didn’t deter Nico Rosberg from continuing his incredible form, Hamilton fell into the clutches of Max Verstappen as was unable to overtake. After the race, Verstappen said,

“I was really happy to be able to get in-between the two Mercedes cars, it is a great result yet again for the team. In the race we had quick pace but I think Nico was still only cruising. When I sped up Nico could match it and if I slowed he did also, he was in control.

Lewis (Hamilton) was obviously a bit quicker in the final stages and I knew he was going to catch me, the gap time on the pit board was dropping every lap. Into the last chicane I saw him coming in my mirrors so I defended my position, this allowed me to hang on for the second place.”

– Max Verstappen

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 31: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer leads Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 31: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer leads Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)