I've been watching Formula 1 for almost 30 years, which means I've endured several periods of dominance from various teams and drivers. They've all had their pros and cons, of course, but one thing is certain in F1: Nothing lasts forever. Last weekend's race in Singapore gave fans a small taste of what F1 could be like without an overly dominant car, but expecting that to be the new norm is wishful thinking. Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen will go back to their winning ways until their luck and performance run out. And based on the soon-to-be three-time champ's recent comments to the media, everyone will just have to deal with it until then.
"I don’t think about what is good for Formula 1," Verstappen told the media in Japan, according to ESPN. "I don’t think it’s necessarily bad what's happening to Formula 1 because we were just better than everyone else. And if people can’t appreciate that, then you’re not a real fan."
In regards to Red Bull's drop in performance in Singapore, Verstappen owned the situation and said that they were beaten fair and square. This can be interpreted as him being an extremely fair competitor who's willing to accept defeat, or someone overly confident that this won't happen again anytime soon.
"That’s how it goes," added Verstappen. "We didn’t perform and other people did a better job than us. Then of course they deserved to win. For me, it was just we got beaten in a very clear way. They shouldn't win because people say it's boring that we are winning.
"I mean, yeah, we stopped winning for one race, shit happens. We won ten in a row before that! Of course, I would have liked to win there as well but I also know there is always going to be a day or a weekend where you are not winning and things go wrong."
While race commentators on TV would sometimes like us to believe that Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and even McLaren have improved enough since the summer break to catch up to the bulls, that's just not the case. These teams—along with Williams—have surely gotten faster and narrowed the performance chasm, but as much as many fans would like (myself included), they are still far from Red Bull's real race pace.
It's likely that we'll see the Ferraris and even Mercedes fight for podiums and maybe a lucky win here and there, but unless something catastrophic happens, Verstappen and Red Bull have 2023 locked down, and the reigning world champion doesn't seem to care how you feel about that.
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