This is part of the online version of this Sunday’s edition (19/6) of Flavio Gomes’ newsletter. In the complete newsletter, just for subscribers, the columnist also announces the launch of his fifth book, a collection of texts from the Schumacher Era. To receive the newsletter and access the full content, click here.
By winning the Canadian GP this weekend in Montreal, Max Verstappen reached the mark of 26 career wins. He entered the top 10 of the biggest winners in F1 history, now isolated in ninth place. He left behind Niki Lauda and Jim Clark, who won 25 each. Next in line is Jackie Stewart, the Flying Scotsman, three-time world champion with 27 wins under his belt.
The sky seems to be the limit for this 24-year-old Dutchman, current world champion and absolute favorite for a bi this season. Ferrari, which started the championship in an overwhelming way, seems to have stopped. Mercedes doesn’t have a car to face Red Bull. It was easy.
Max was 46 points behind Charles Leclerc in the standings after the third race of the year in Australia. The Monegasque had two wins and a second place, 71 points. Verstappen appeared with 25, in sixth place in the table.
Since then, there have been six stages. He won five, plus the Imola sprint — the mini-race that, as of this year, gives eight points to the winner. There will be two more in 2022, in Austria and Brazil. Red Bull has won every race since the Emilia-Romagna GP on 24 April.
With the victory in Montreal, Max went to 175 points in the Worlds. The vice-leader, his teammate Sergio Pérez, has 129. That’s the same 46 points he had at the beginning of April. Within two months, he had turned the tables and pointed the bow at the title.
There are already those who say that the championship is boring. That the new regulation was useless. That Formula 1 is a bomb. Of course, things are not that simple.
For those who started following the category recently, the closest reference is to last season, one of the most beautiful of all time – decided on the last lap of the last race thanks to a more than controversial decision by the race director in Abu Dhabi. But to want something similar to happen every year is to exaggerate expectations a little. Championships like this are very rare. And if we don’t have anything like that this year, we can blame it on Mercedes.
Eight-time constructors’ champions and seven drivers’ titles as of 2014, the German team made a mistake with their car this year and even finding a way to improve its performance takes time. Out of the fight for victories for who knows how long, the silver team practically handed the championship to Red Bull on a platter – which, in turn, had to swallow the superiority of rivals for years on end after the tetra won between 2010 and 2013 .
The F-1 is like that. It lives on very clear cycles, although not always as long-lived as the unprecedented Mercedes hegemony established with the beginning of the hybrid era of engines. It is necessary to understand the dynamics of the sport so as not to be hasty in judging its quality.
McLaren was dominant in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then it was Williams’ turn to take on a series of titles. Then came Ferrari in the Schumacher years, then Red Bull, then Mercedes, now the energy drink Austrians have straightened up again, and so it is.
It’s no use complaining. Even if a championship becomes precociously predictable in terms of the final result, each race has its history and it is necessary to know how to see the beauty of the category in small moments, such as Fernando Alonso’s second place on the grid in the rain on Saturday, ten years after drop in the front row for the last time. At 40 years of age, the Asturian from Alpine made the most veteran fans sigh with nostalgia, who remembered his best moments at Renault, at the beginning of the century.
The third row of the modest Haas, also on Saturday, also filled with joy those who support the weakest. As well as Chinese Zhou’s eighth place in the race, a rookie who has been conquering the paddock with his simplicity, friendliness and seriousness. Even Hamilton, used to lifting trophies, managed to find some reason to smile in Canada with an unassuming third place.
And you can’t withhold any praise from Verstappen after seeing him in Montreal hold off Carlos Sainz for 16 laps with the Spaniard less than a second behind him without making anything resembling a mistake. The level is very high. So, the best thing to do is admire it. And it’s a privilege to follow, in real time, careers like Max’s in F1. Geniuses appear from time to time in sports. He’s one of those.
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