July 26, 2023

McLaren is FOR REAL (2 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

By Hong Lau

I guess after three intense weeks of McLaren performance, you have to give them some credit and say that they are legitimately the second-best team on the grid.

Lando Norris might be the second-fastest driver on the grid.  I’ve said it before, and I think I’m putting it in stone now.  He’s consistently beaten Oscar Piastri when the playing field has been equal (no bad pits, the car doesn’t have mechanical failures, etc.).  They look fast on all circuits - or do all the other teams look slow on every other circuit?  Another thing that could be playing to their advantage is that they went with the same pull rod configuration that Red Bull did in the 2022 F1 technical regulation change.  They’ve finally started figuring some things out and pushing forward.  I would also compliment their stability in the team after a year of a lot of turmoil and change.  From Siedl leaving to Danny Ricciardo, employees being stolen by Aston Martin are to name a few significant changes within their team.

Red Bull continues to DOMINATE.  They have set a record-breaking 12 consecutive race wins for a constructor.  In the history of Formula 1, that seems like such an easy record when you say it out loud, but it’s quite the opposite.  The amount of moving parts in Formula 1 makes it such an incredible feat, and you can’t help but take your hat off to Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Adrian Newey and the rest of the Red Bull team.  Just to put it in the air, it puts Red Bull ahead of McLaren with their legendary driver lineup of Alain Prost and the great late Ayrton Senna.  Just sit back for a second and see who Max Verstappen has almost beaten by himself (no offence to Checo).

On a separate note, seeing how many consecutive wins Max Verstappen can get should be interesting.  He is now at his 7th in a row which puts him in a very exclusive category with less than five people to ever accomplish such a feat.  Sebastian Vettel holds the record at 9 in a row.  There’s no way I can see Max losing in Spa one of his home circuits, so let’s go ahead and chalk him up for number 8.  I think he could potentially win 12-15 in a row—broken record time (I dislike the driver but respect the greatness).

Mercedes and Ferrari continue to look like a laughing stock.  This was supposed to be a circuit Mercedes looked good on, and they didn’t impress.  Lewis Hamilton continues to make mistakes like the start at the beginning of the race this weekend.  George Russell had an awful qualifying on Saturday.  I would say it was a positive for Mercedes that they got a pole without the factor of rain.  We’ll see if Mercedes scraps this version of their car after summer break and go all in for the “W15”.  What can I say about my favourite team Ferrari?  It’s literally become a joke.  I don’t know what Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz need to do to get some consistency and a good strategy, but it needs to come ASAP.  The Scuderia are a laughing stock, and the Tu Fosi are impatient.

Last race this weekend at Spa before we go to summer break!  One of the best courses on the track where it’s fast and has some great overtakes.  Red Bull wins for sure, with McLaren being a distant second!