Hill doubts Red Bull has same dominance Mercedes did

Damon Hill (GBR). 09-11.07.2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood, England
© XPB 

Former Formula 1 world champion says that despite an impressive campaign in 2022, Red Bull still doesn't have the same sort of dominance in the sport as Mercedes had attained in the last eight years.

Mercedes took charge of the sport in the modern hybrid era, and spent long spells looking completely unbeatable with drivers championships for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

But Hamilton was denied the title in 2021, and while Mercedes still won the constructors crown it was by a narrow 28 point margin that went down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

This year Mercedes slumped to third in the standings while Red Bull won the title by a whopping 205 points over Ferrari. Max verstappen won a recored 15 races, and his team mate Sergio Verstapen two more in Monaco and Singapore.

But despite the numbers, Hill doesn't think that Red Bull can claim to have the same grip on F1 as Mercedes managed in their heyday.

"It’s not quite as dominant," Hill told Sky Sports F1 last month, recalling a conversation he'd had with Mercedes’ trackside engineering director.

Red Bull Racing celebrate winning the Constructors' World Championship 23.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race

“I was talking with Andrew Shovlin about this," he continued. "[Red Bull's] dominance is not quite as dominant as Mercedes’ shift to the hybrid era.

"They were so dominant, they had to kind of underplay it a little bit because otherwise people would have ganged up on them.

“But with Red Bull, you see at the end of the [Abu Dhabi GP] that Ferrari wasn’t too far away from them.

“We don’t know how much more they had in hand, but they were pretty close to Red Bull," Hill argued. "And also of course in Brazil, you had Mercedes being competitive in a different set of circumstances.”

The proof will be in whether Red Bull and Max Verstappen can maintain their momentum in 2023 and stay ahead of their rivals, or whether things will get much closer, but they were improving by the end of the season.

Mercedes' main problem this season was the porpoising issue that bedevilled the first half of the season, and left the W13 struggling with high drag in the later races.

Meanwhile Ferrari started the season well with two wins in the first three races for Charles Leclerc which gave te Monegasque driver 46 points ahead of Verstappen leaving many to believe that the title was already decided.

But that was in large part due to teething problems with the RB18's fuel system, and once those were sorted out it was Red Bull all the way as Ferrari made a number os strategy miscues.

All three top teams will be working hard over the winter off-season to improve their cars for 2023, with Ferrari hoping that the appointment of former Sauber CEO Frédéric Vasseur will provide new impetus at Maranello.

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