Red Bull Racing is having a tale of two seasons.
On one side of the garage - things continually seem to be improving and excelling. On the other, the pressure and expectation has come to a head.
Max Verstappen’s ability to earn consistent top-five results, including his impressive wins in Austria and Germany has kept the team’s points tally afloat, and given Honda its first wins of F1’s turbo-hybrid era.
But for Pierre Gasly, the promotion to Red Bull’s top team did not go as successfully as hoped and sees him demoted to Toro Rosso for the remainder of the season, after nine point scores from 12 races and a season highest finish of fourth at the British Grand Prix.
Only 44 points behind Ferrari, second in the constructors’ is there for the taking if the newly added Alex Albon, can step up against his teammate - something Gasly knew pre-season would be a tough target.
SOUNDBITE (English) PIERRE GASLY,
F1 DRIVER, TORO ROSSO:
“To be fair, at the moment I think he’s [Max Verstappen] probably the most talented guy out there. And, to race in the same team as him for me is an amazing opportunity.”
Reliability has improved substantially with the new Honda power units.
… while Verstappen’s level of maturity continues to grow. The Dutchman scored his first pole in Hungary and could have scored his third win if Mercedes didn’t outclass Red Bull on strategy.
For Gasly, he suffered a DNF in Azerbaijan because of a driveshaft failure, another for a mistake he made in Germany, and has finished outside the top six on five other occasions, unacceptable in a top three team.
The team’s best hope now is second in the drivers’ championships.