The 2013 Formula 1 season is now seven races old and in that seventh race we, the collective universe of F1 fans, were reminded of something that we had seemingly, impossibly, somehow forgotten: Red Bull Racing is hands down the most dominant team in Formula One.
I was as guilty as anyone else in forgetting this. I talked about Scuderia Ferrari and Lotus F1 Team as being the best. I even looked at Mercedes AMG and thought that they could be on their way to the top with their dominance in qualifying and win in Monaco, but alas I was fooled. RBR is still the team to beat.
Perhaps the F1 world failed to recognize, or merely refused to accept, this fact because it has become easy to dislike Red Bull. With all the whining over tires and the claims that they couldn’t fully unleash the speed of their RB9s due to the Pirelli’s tendency to degrade quickly we were sick of all the talk. It appeared, and still does appear, that Red Bull had gotten spoiled and wanted the sport as a whole to bend to the will of one team.
On top of that it has been increasingly difficult to like the team’s golden boy because of the clashes he has had with his own team mate and crew. There was Malaysia, the radio traffic in Monaco…but love him or hate him that German youngster can drive.
Sebastian Vettel put on a clinic at the Canadian Grand Prix on his way to his third win of the season, the 29th of his career. In addition to those wins Vettel has a P2, P3, and a pair of P4 finishes in 2013. It is hard to argue against a guy who has yet to miss the top five on race day and hasn’t qualified worse than P9.
That ninth place start came in China where he would earn one of his fourth place finishes, but it was somewhat of a freak occurrence because his next lowest start was P3 in both Spain and Monaco. Yep, Seb has qualified off the podium only once this year while finding his way to the top of the qualifying podium three times. He is up to 39 career pole positions.
Lest we forget, Vettel will be only 26 years old on his next birthday. The kid is clutch, and it is impossible to deny that we are watching a legendary career unfolding before our very eyes, a career that is still in its early stages at that.
Mark Webber is no slouch either. Aussie Grit has once again been quietly having a sensational season. Webber does have one DNF on the year, which he picked up in China where he started in dead last, but that race was clearly the exception and not the rule.
Other than that he has not finished worse than P7 and hasn’t qualified lower than that either. Webber has qualified on the podium once and finished there twice. He should have a win, but his team mate had other ideas about how Malaysia was supposed to shake out.
By all accounts this should be Webber’s last season with RBR. It has become painstakingly clear that the team has a heavy favoritism towards Vettel despite saying that Webber would always be welcome with the team. Of course Red Bull would be foolish to say anything besides that because Webber is a great wheel man. If the Aussie walks and wants to keep racing he will have no trouble finding a race seat in F1. On the flip side, RBR will have no trouble filling Webber’s seat with an established and talented driver. They have that kind of power.
Red Bull is once again putting together a jaw dropping season with Vettel leading the way. Every other team on the grid had better hope that RBR was yanking their chain when they said that the tires were limiting their speed, because if that 14.4 second win margin in Montreal was them going slow then the other ten teams need to go into a collective panic mode right now.
All signs currently point towards Vettel winning a fourth straight driver’s championship and Red Bull making it four in a row on top of the constructor’s points. The season is still fairly young, so anything can happen, but the other teams better make it happen fast if they don’t want to be racing for nothing better than second place.
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