In this final part of the trio of posts on who I belive will beat their teammate in the upcoming 2021 season, I now look at the top three from last season, McLaren, RedBull and Mercedes.
The excellent progress made by the British team has led to their highest finish in the Constructors Championship since 2012 as finished third. The loveable duo of Carlos Sainz jr and Lando Norris have been split after two years on the grid together in what has taken McLaren from ninth in the standings four years ago, to being a genuine podium contender.
Lando Norris is in his third season in Formula One, improving massively from his rookie campaign in 2019, almost doubling his points tally despite three less races on the calendar. Achieving his first podium in the opening race last season at Austria, the loveable Bristolian is only going to be fighting for more top three finishes this year.
Daniel Ricciardo has made the switch from Renault to McLaren in one that has shaken up the midfield in epic proportions. Touted as a World Champion winning driver, he has never really been able to hit those heights. Beating four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel in his debut season with RedBull, the Aussie is a nine-time race winner, and maybe only has one big move left in his career if the McLaren progress does not go fully to plan. He is very quick and is one of the ‘ballsyest’ drivers with his alternative overtaking positions. Part of Renault’s improvements in the past two years, Ricciardo will take a large role in the assault on the drivers and constructors’ championship. I think it will be level, but Daniel Ricccardo needs time at the team to settle in, so I’m going for Lando Norris.
Another season, another driver in the RedBull team as Sergio Perez will be partnering Max Verstappen in the attempt to claim back either Championship that they haven’t held since 2013. Max Verstappen said to be the quickest driver on the grid, and if not for the Dutchman, last season would have been so much more mundane than it was. He was the only driver to consistently take the fight to Mercedes with his duo of wins. With the 2022 rule regulations offering up a massive shift in the sport, Verstappen will be wanting to cause a shock in the Formula One world by finally beating the silver arrow that has fouled his attempts at world domination.
I thank every God there ever has been that Sergio Perez has kept a drive in Formula One for the 2021 season. He may be my favourite driver on the grid, but that comes from his immense consistency in the sport, and as last season, the ability to how quick and clinical a driver he is whilst in a car that is far more competitive at the top of the field. Registering his best ever finishes in the sport first with a second place in Turkey before his immense win for the Sakhir Grand Prix. Hopefully RedBull have finally found a driver that can stay competitive with his teammate, at the third time of asking, but not even I believe that the Mexican will finish above Verstappen in the standings.
Since 2014, Mercedes have been unstoppable in Formula One, and the question of who wins the Drivers and Constructors Championship has been irradiated and altered to how quickly the constructor can claim them. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be going for the eighth consecutive Constructors title whilst, and Hamilton the record-breaking driver’s title. The Brit look his time to sign a contract for this year as rumours of discontent in the team grew. However, he is signed up for one more season, in which he can claim his fifth Drivers title in a row. His speed has not dipped throughout his career and neither has his importance or love for the sport. Having only been beaten by his teammates twice in his career in 2012 and 2016, the man is one of the toughest competitors the sport has seen.
Valtteri Bottas has not had the most comfortable time at Mercedes since joining from Williams for the 2017 season. Always behind his teammate and sometimes in embarrassing style. He is a ‘wingman’ for the other side if the garage, in not having first choice of strategy or having team orders against him. It also seems that when something goes wrong on the car it is normally his. Saying that though it would be a much easier ride for the Fin of he was at the front of the grid every race and not being caught by the high midfield.
Hamilton will breeze this and will claim the historic World Championship number 8.