In the first half of the season, only Max Verstappen was able to convince at Red Bull. That’s why the demotion of Pierre Gasly was just a logical consequence and consistent with Red Bull philosophy.
Even if it sounds harsh, Red Bull Racing was a “one-car team” in the first half. The Dutch superstar Max Verstappen (21) clinched two victories, a total of five podium finishes and is with 181 points third in the drivers’ standings with only seven points behind and in striking distance to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
Unfortunately for Red Bull, they are only third in the constructors’ championship and that’s due to Pierre Gasly (23) poor record. Gasly was completely overwhelmed in the first twelve races. He literally broke under at the super-human powers of his teammate. One number speaks for itself.
In qualifying, Gasly lost on average half a second on Verstappen. That’s the worst stats of any pilot among the drivers’ field of 2019. No wonder that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner found very critical words after the last race in Hungary before the summer break:
“We don’t have two cars driving in front, which hurts us especially in terms of the constructors’ standing.”
His boss, Red Bull chief consultant Helmut Marko, had even more drastic words:
“Gasly has problems when he is stuck in traffic. He loses places and he doesn’t seem to like overtaking either. So we had to react and give Albon the chance. For the time being, Albon will drive until the end of the season and Gasly takes over his Toro Rosso seat and then we have to see who will drive next to Max next year. “
But anyone who knows Marko well knows that he would prefer seeing the British-born driver with Thai roots beyond this year.
According to Marko Albon had “a huge debut season. He squeezed the car out like a lemon.”
Positive for Red Bull, it was the team that improved the most throughout the first half. It struggled at the beginning, and that had an obvious reason:
“We had built a car with too little downforce. We simply underestimated how much progress our new engine partner Honda had made. They delivered more power than we thought. That’s why we originally wanted to compensate for the missing horsepower with chassis that is very aerodynamically efficient. But we corrected that and at the last races, we were almost on par with Mercedes. We have definitely overtaken Ferrari,” Marko commented.
“I think we will be competitive on every kind of racetrack in the second half of the season.”
Red Bull’s progress and recent success comes at the right time and is extremely important for its future. One reason, of course, is Max Verstappen.
Verstappen has a clause in his contract that bound him to stay with Red Bull if he was in top three of the drivers’ standings after the race in Hungary. He accomplished this after his great performance in Hungary.
The upward trend suits Verstappen who clearly expressed his wish to remain with Red Bull:
“What Honda and Red Bull have been doing in recent weeks is sensational, and I believe we can work together to achieve my goal of becoming the youngest ever World Champion, and I’ll be able to do that in 2020.”
Comparing Verstappen vs. Gasly:
Qualifying duel: 11-1
Average faster in Q: -0,500s
Race comparison: 11-1
Average team points: Verstappen 74%, Gasly 26%