Mercedes Confirm Red Bull Firm Favourites for Imola and Portimao F1 Races

Published 04/02/2021, 10:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Mercedes and Red Bull put up an incredible show last weekend and provided the fans with the best season opener they could have hoped for.

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Lewis Hamilton showed why he is a 7-time World Champion as he defended his P1 position from Max Verstappen on new tyres.

It seems like the dominant Mercedes are not miles ahead anymore. The Milton Keynes team might make things difficult for the Silver Arrows this season.

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In a recent interview, Mercedes’ Chief Racing Engineer, Andrew Shovlin, shared that Imola and Portimao could be tough this season.

“I don’t think we’re good enough in the high-speed passages, and there are a lot of them in Imola and Portimao. There they [Red Bull] have an advantage over us at the moment,” explained Shovlin.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference with second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen FIA/Handout via REUTERS

However, Andrew is still optimistic and hopes that the team will find their way as the season progresses. “In 2018 it took four races to win. We had some difficult years. We are not unfamiliar with that,” he pointed out.

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Andrew claims Mercedes has no edge over Red Bull anymore

The Chief Race Engineer analyzed the Bahrain Grand Prix and pointed out that the RB16B was as fast as Mercedes in their best corners.

He believes that at the moment; both teams are pretty evenly matched and Red Bull could pull further in the first part of the season.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“I would say that we have no strengths compared to them. For many years we have been able to rely on our speed on the straights or in high-speed corners, but nowhere have we stolen any time from them,” explained Shovlin.

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The F1 regulations this season significantly affected the downforce of the teams. This costed the Silver Arrows heavily.

Meanwhile, Red Bull have successfully developed their 2020 car and for the first time, Max Verstappen might actually believe he has a championship-winning car.

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Do you believe Red Bull will beat Mercedes this season?

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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