As we touch upon in the race reports of the two grands prix which have taken place since the last issue, the pattern of the season after four races suggests a narrative of Mercedes, having begun the season at Bahrain behind Red Bull, has since closed the gap (at Imola), drawn level (Portugal) and pulled ahead (Barcelona) at each subsequent race. Which has brought an inevitable sense of disappointment after seven seasons of unrelenting Mercedes championship domination, as emerged from the ashes of the Honda Formula 1 team to dominate the 2009 Australian Grand Prix. Now powered by Mercedes-Benz engines’ title=’Lewis Hamilton’ data-wpil-keyword-link=’linked’>Lewis Hamilton has won three of the first four races.
But actually, wait. I have a theory which offers hope that we may still see the tight battle that the opening couple of rounds promised. The two cars are quite different in their concepts and performance patterns. It may just be that the sequence of circuits visited so far emphasises different aspects of each car in a way that has coincidentally played out in a manner which suggests this narrative of Mercedes hauling in Red Bull’s initial advantage and proceeding to pull away. Had we experienced those races in reverse order, we might be looking at a story that suggested Mercedes having an initial advantage and Red Bull gradually clawing level and then ahead.
Stay with me on this. It could be wrong, it’s just a theory and the Monaco race will have taken place by the time you read this – which could have either destroyed or given added credence to the theory. But the technicalities behind it are valid regardless. It goes like this.