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F1: Can Red Bull Do What Mercedes Couldn’t in 2016?

With eight wins from eight races this season, can Red Bull do what Mercedes couldn’t in 2016 and go all year unbeaten?

Oracle Red Bull Racing are quite simply obliterating the competition at the moment in Formula 1, with the Austrians having so far won every race this season. They’re demonstrating the type of superiority most teams dream of, and fear at the same time.

Nobody has been able to beat the unbelievable RB19, with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen having won six times this year, whilst Sergio Pérez has won twice. After winning eight out of eight so far, they unsurprisingly lead the Constructors’ Championship by a mammoth margin, 154 points ahead of arch-rivals Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.

Whilst Fernando Alonso did well to finish within 10 seconds of Verstappen last weekend in Montreal, the Dutchman still won with relative ease. What makes their stunning start to 2023 that much more impressive is that they’re destroying the field despite serving their cost cap penalty, for breaching the budget cap in 2021.

Red Bull are currently so strong in fact, that some are beginning to question if they could actually go the entire season unbeaten. Mercedes recently went close to winning every race in 2016 only to fall two races short, highlighting how challenging it is. To win every race, Red Bull could learn from Mercedes’ errors in 2016, which cost them the most glamourous record of them all.

So, with that in mind, where did it go wrong for the Silver Arrows in 2016?

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix is without a doubt one of Mercedes’ most iconic moments, and for all the wrong reasons! It was famously the race where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out on the opening lap, handing victory to a certain Dutchman…

Hamilton started the fifth round of the 2016 season from pole position, with eventual World Champion that year Rosberg alongside him in second. The seven-time World Champion made the better start, but it was Rosberg who led into the opening corner, after sweeping around the outside of the Briton.

This gave the German the inside for Turn 2, before Hamilton got right behind him as they went around the long Turn 3. Thanks to a mega slipstream, Hamilton exited the corner almost as if he’d been slingshotted. He darted to the inside of Rosberg on the run to Turn 4; however, Rosberg seemingly cut across to the shut the door.

This is where drama struck, because Hamilton was already pulling alongside his former team-mate. Rosberg moving across forced Hamilton onto the grass, where he astonishingly lost control. What happened next was the stuff of nightmares for Team Principal Toto Wolff, as Hamilton span straight into the side of Rosberg, resulting in the duo crashing out.

Two heavily damaged W07s sat in the gravel trap on the exit of Turn 4, where Hamilton threw his steering wheel out of the car in anger and disbelief. On that day, Mercedes’ loss was Red Bull’s gain. Verstappen, in his first race for Red Bull after replacing Daniil Kvyat, claimed a sensational win, his first of 41 in F1.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

Following their Barcelona nightmare, Mercedes went on a 10-race winning streak, until their run quite literally blew up at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Just like in Spain, Hamilton started on pole with Rosberg alongside him on the front row. However, unlike in Spain, the two Mercedes drivers didn’t collide; instead, Rosberg was hit and spun by Sebastian Vettel. With Rosberg having been left to fight his way through the field, Hamilton was able to cruise his way into a comfortable lead, until it all went wrong.

On Lap 41 whilst looking set for victory, the 38-year-old suffered a catastrophic engine failure, resulting in an instant retirement. The failure saw him lose 25 points and technically the 2016 title, given that he lost the crown to Rosberg by just five points.

Ironically, just like in Spain, Red Bull were on hand to capitalise on Hamilton’s crushing blow, as Daniel Ricciardo claimed the lead of the race. The Aussie ended up winning the race in what was a Red Bull 1-2.

Could Red Bull Really Do It?

Honestly, yes. Had it not been for Hamilton and Rosberg colliding in Spain or the British driver having an engine failure in Malaysia, Mercedes would’ve won every race in 2016. They simply failed at doing so through their own mistakes and reliability woes, with it not having been because another team was faster than them.

The story is so far similar for Red Bull this season, given that no team has ever looked close to competing with them, let alone actually beat them to victory. Mercedes and Aston Martin will, of course, throw everything at it; however, Red Bull do just look unbeatable.

Their biggest threat appears to be themselves, something Mercedes experienced the downsides of in 2016. If Red Bull can make it through the entire season without reliability issues or their drivers colliding, then it’ll require a monumental effort from another team to topple them.

Hamilton certainly thinks Red Bull can win all 22 races this season, with the 103-time race winner saying, as reported by

“You know how it is and you know what you’re faced with. There’s nothing I can do about their amazing performance.”

“It’s likely that they will win every race, moving forwards, this year, unless the Astons and us put a lot more performance on the cars, or their car doesn’t finish.”

Even Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has admitted that his side could genuinely win every race this season, something he revealed to Sky Sports F1, as quoted by ESPN:

“Can we? Yes. Will we? Who knows, because there are so many variables in this game.”



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