If you have tuned in to the F1 season so far, then you’d have likely picked up a very heavy case of déjà vu.
The current world champion is enjoying a prolonged spell of dominance for his team. Ostensibly meaning that both Red Bull and Verstappen will win the Constructors and Drivers World Championships once again.
That is, bar a change of circumstances for the team and driver that would be unprecedented in F1.
Total Red Bull Dominance
After the British Grand Prix, the tenth race on the calendar after the Emilio Reggiana Grand Prix was cancelled, Red Bull Racing drivers had won all ten races.
Verstappen had won eight of those ten races, finishing second in both the other two behind his teammate Sergio Perez.
It’s not altogether surprising to note that if you check the betting before any F1 race with bet365 Sport. At the moment, Red Bull and Verstappen are both heavy odds on favourites to win every race.
It would take a brave punter to suggest that Red Bull and Max Verstappen would not likely dominate the two remaining races in the first half of the season in Hungary and Spa (Belgium).
Assuming they do (and by the time this article goes live they likely will have done), is there any chance any other team or driver could challenge Red Bull this season?
Let’s take a look at the possible contenders who could perhaps step things up over the second part of the season.
Can Anybody Challenge Red Bull During the 2nd Part of the F1 Season?
Let’s take a look at some of the teams that could, in theory at least, challenge Red Bull’s dominance over the second part of the F1 campaign.
- Lewis Hamilton (GB)
- George Russell (GB)
Mercedes have the most decorated driver in Formula 1 driving for their team, and one of the sports most exciting prospects. Despite that, issues with the car have continued to plague the team this season.
It seems a long time ago that Mercedes were all-dominant and unfortunately for the team, they don’t seem to be making a huge amount of headway cutting the gap to Red Bull.
A number of modifications have not really made much difference to Mercedes chances in recent races and Hamilton and Russell, despite consistent finishes in the points, still seem to be well off the pace of Verstappen at the very least.
The German team probably won’t be able to develop their car enough in the time left in the season to become a serious challenger to Red Bull, but they are still one of the most likely to offer most resistance.
Likelihood of Challenging Red Bull – 40%
- Charles Leclerc (Fra)
- Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp)
Ferrari have struggled for pace to match the Red Bull car all season long. Furthermore, while Carlos Sainz is generally regarded as the number 2 driver for the Italian marque, he has tended to out-perform Charles Leclerc this season.
The Frenchman’s struggles began with two DNF’s in the first three races and while he has completed all the others, he has had just two podium finishes in that period.
Contrastingly, Sainz has not had any podium finishes as yet, but has finished every race and finished in the points in all but one Grand Prix this season.
Both drivers are probably doing the best they can with what is not the best Ferrari car in recent times and as such, it is hard to see them making any real challenge to Red Bull this season.
Likelihood of Challenging Red Bull – 25%
- Lando Norris (GB)
- Oscar Piastri (Aus)
Are things starting to look up for McLaren after a miserable start to the season? Four 17th position finishes for Lando Norris, with a best finish of sixth at the Australian GP, by the time they hit the Austrian Grand Prix did not augur well.
Oscar Piastri, while promising, found himself well down the race order too, earning just two points finishes in the first nine races of the season.
However, things changed hugely at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, when a number of upgrades to the car were applied. And consequently, the team’s fortunes and performance improved markedly.
Lando Norris finished second in his home GP, with Oscar Piastri fourth and pushing Lewis Hamilton hard for third. Even Mercedes drivers were amazed at the difference in speed of the McLarens at Silverstone.
McLaren’s big improvement needs to continue if they are to really make a fist of things heading into part 2 of the season. So the races in Canada and Belgium are going to be huge for the Woking-based team.
Likelihood of Challenging Red Bull – 50%
- Fernando Alonso (Esp)
- Lance Stroll (Can)
Aston Martin’s excellent start to the season saw them emerge as potentially Red Bull’s main rivals for the season.
Fernando Alonso’s performances saw him finish no lower than fourth until the Spanish Grand Prix. Certainly, things looked up when an upgrade package arrived for the Canadian Grand Prix and Alonso earned his second 2nd place finish of the season.
But a 5th and 7th in the next two races have allowed other drivers to haul in the Spaniard.
Stroll’s record has been far less consistent as the Canadian has struggled to match the pace of his teammate. His best finish a fourth in Australia and he was a very lowly 14th at the British Grand Prix and has failed to finish twice too.
Certain tracks do seem to favour this Aston Martin car and I do feel that they could start to close the gap on Red Bull over the second part of the season.
Likelihood of Challenging Red Bull – 35%
- Esteban Ocon (Fra)
- Pierre Gasly (Fra)
After a creditable third on Monaco for Esteban Ocon, teamed with a season’s best seventh for Pierre Gasly, it looked as it Alpine Renault may be on their way.
However, since then Gasly has picked up just two more Championship points for the team (up to the GB Grand Prix).
Ocon, conversely, has achieved ten points in that same period, but two DNF’s at the British Grand Prix was a very poor result for the French team.
Alpine Renault are very much the fifth-best team in F1 at the moment. Comfortably clear of the teams that are below them in the constructors table. But comparatively as far behind the teams above them.
Mucgh will depend on the much-vaunted upgrade package that Alpine Renault are hoping to get installed on their cars ahead of the summer break.
An improvement of six-tenths of a second per lap was expected but so far has not materialised.
Until it does, Alpine are still going to be well off the pace of the top four teams.
Likelihood of Challenging Red Bull – 2%